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Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament in November: Himanta Biswa Sarma

The minister said the bill will grant citizenship to all those who came to India before 2014 and consider it their homeland

By in Assam
  • Published 24.09.19, 11:17 AM
  • Updated 24.09.19, 11:17 AM
  • a min read
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Assam public works department minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the Centre has decided to bring the bill as it safeguards the interests of the indigenous communities of the state. Telegraph file picture

The central government will reintroduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament in November, Assam finance, health and public works department minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday.

Addressing a public meeting in Karimganj, Sarma said the government will table the bill in Parliament in November and a new NRC will again be prepared under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah.

"We have held public meetings to explain to the people that all the interests and existing legal provisions in the northeast region for the benefit of the indigenous people will be protected. We respect the inner line permit (ILP) system and the Sixth Schedule provisions", he said.

"We need a bill... cannot allow infiltration to continue. So we need a bill to stop this," the North East Democratic Alliance convenor said.

Sarma said the central government has decided to bring such a bill that safeguards the interests of the indigenous communities of Assam and other northeastern states.

"People must not think that the bill is against the interest of their culture, language and heritage but that they are giving shelter to unfortunate people," the minister said.

"That is why the government will table the bill in Parliament in November this year to grant Indian citizenship to everyone, including Bengali Hindus as well as Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains who came to the country before 2014 and consider India as their motherland," he said.

Sarma assured that the government will also take measures to ensure that the culture, language and heritage of the people of the northeast region is protected.

Regarding the NRC, he said, "The Bharatiya Janata Party does not believe in it as it became opposite of what we wanted it to be. We will tell the Supreme Court that the BJP rejects the NRC. It is not a document of identity of the Assamese people."

The contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which had triggered massive protests in Assam and the northeast region, was passed by Lok Sabha on January 8 but the government did not table it in Rajya Sabha as it did not have the numbers in the Upper House to pass it, causing the bill to lapse with the end of the term of the 16th Lok Sabha in May.