Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday claimed that "unnecessary social disturbance" was being created over the Citizenship bill ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The chief minister also asserted that provisions of the Assam Accord will not be violated by it.
No one in the state should feel threatened as Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not take any decision to hurt the emotions and interests of the North-East region or Assam, the chief minister said while replying to the debate on Governor's speech during the ongoing Budget Session of Assam Assembly.
"It is not right to unnecessarily create social disturbance ahead of Lok Sabha polls. Polls will come and go, but we will not harm the indigenous people," Sonowal said
"All are 100 per cent safe here. We will continue to work for the people of Brahmaputra and Barak valleys," he added.
Talking about the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the chief minister asserted it is not true that the Assam Accord will be violated if the bill was implemented. "Many people are giving data on illegal foreigners, but without any basis. Once NRC is done, we will get the actual figure of illegal foreigners," he added.
Sonowal said it would be a shame if people were misled by false information and the healthy environment of the state was destroyed.
"In the last two and half years, we have not done anything secretly. We have to maintain good academic environment and we will not be pardoned if we destroy this for our cheap political gains," he said.
Reacting to the ongoing protests against the bill, Sonowal said, "You can definitely talk and debate the Citizenship Bill, we will listen. But you do not have right to go on roads, disturb peace and affect livelihood of the poor. It is undemocratic."
Request everyone to not take law into their hands, otherwise the administration will take action as per the law, Sonowal asked the Opposition parties to stop spreading lies.
"Assam will not lag behind unless you create disturbances. There should be tolerance. We, the ruling party, cooperate with your demands. You also have the responsibility to tell the people truth," Sonowal said to the Opposition.
"We have been told lots of things these days. We are very tolerant. But time will not forgive (you) if you confuse people to create unrest in Assam," he added.
Regarding the apprehensions expressed by the members of the House, Sonowal said that if the problems of the society were addressed carefully, then there will be no issue and the state assembly needs to send out a healthy signal.
"The Citizenship Bill is for entire nation, not only Assam... Then why unnecessary fear is being created among people? From where has this figure of 1.9 crore Hindu Bangladeshis coming to Assam emerged?" he wondered.
"We should not confuse people by saying that Assamese identity and culture will be finished. The opposition should behave responsibly," he added.
After partition, the minorities were tortured in the neighbouring countries and the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Home Minister Vallabhbhai Patel assured people to give shelter and the current policies were framed on those commitments.
On the Clause-5 of the Assam Accord, which is about detection, deletion and deportation of illegal foreigners coming to Assam on or after March 24, 1971, Sonowal claimed the Modi government took steps to implement it.
"Modi signed the Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh and now sealing of border is going on in full swing. We are going to complete it in our tenure. By March, the riverine border will also be sealed," he said.
"NRC update is also going on in our period and we will complete it by July 31, 2019 as per the Supreme Court order," he added.
"We are sincere about it and engaged 55,000 government employees in this task. Once the NRC is ready, it will be the first step towards implementing Clause-5," he said further.
Sonowal also slammed those who have called the high-powered committee on the Clause-6 of the Assam Accord and tabling of a draft Bill in Parliament for granting Scheduled Tribe status to six communities in Assam as lollipops.
"The ST status to six tribes is a 40-year old demand. The Centre has given instructions to the Assam government, which has formed a Group of Ministers to deliberate on the issue and to hold talks with all stakeholders," he said.
Sonowal regretted that a lot of misinformation was being spread on the issues despite the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Assam working for both minority and majority communities.
"We will not tolerate any divisive politics. We need peace and amity for development... After becoming the PM, he (Modi) took bold steps for the development of the region," Sonowal asserted.
On black flags being shown to him, he said, albeit in a lighter vein, that he was not allergic to any colour including black.
"Today, the Speaker wore a black jacket. There is a black strip in my dress. No one should give an impression that we have allergy to black colour. The main thing is to have a clean mind," he said.
With PTI Inputs