As protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill continue across Assam, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal Thursday appealed the people to maintain peace and assured them that their concerns would be addressed.
“Whatever violent incidents took place during the course of these protests yesterday (Wednesday), Assam’s peaceful society has criticised in the strictest terms… People of Assam want peace,” Sonowal told reporters.
We are resolutely committed to protect the identity, rights, heritage and culture of the Assamese people.
My appeal to all, let us together continue on the path of progress and keep alive our ancient values of peace, harmony and brotherhood. pic.twitter.com/sSJc1XeQQ1
— Sarbananda Sonowal (@sarbanandsonwal) December 12, 2019
In what appeared to be a reference to the Assamese concerns about the number of Bangladeshi migrants getting citizenship through CAB, Sonowal stated that various numbers are being floated around, such as 1.5 crores, 1 crore, 20 lakh. “CAB is a national legislation. There is no reason for the people of Assam to be concerned. Our government is committed to safeguarding our language, culture, vision, political rights, land rights,” he said.
Sonowal also talked about the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. This clause assures steps to protect and preserve the language and culture of the Assamese people.
“Clause 6 committee has been formed with Assamese people… Home Minister Amit Shah has assured in Parliament that whatever constitutional safeguards this committee makes for the Assamese people in the coming days, all will be adopted. The Prime Minister too has clearly said that he and the Centre are committed to the protection of Assamese people’s language, culture, political rights and land rights,” he said.
The protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill intensified on Wednesday. While mobile internet services remain suspended in 10 districts of Assam, Guwahati, the epicentre of the protests, is under indefinite curfew. Army has been deployed in Assam and Tripura, and railway and air traffic are severely hit.
On Thursday, Assam BJP MLA Binod Hazarika’s house was set ablaze by protesters in Chabua, PTI reported. The headquarters of the Assam Gana Parishad in the city’s Ambari area was also attacked on Thursday by people protesting against the Bill, police officials were quoted as saying by PTI.