Home Minister Amit Shah (File Image)
New Delhi :
Union Home Minister Amit Shah will visit Assam next week to attend a meeting of the North Eastern Council and is likely to review the situation in the state in the wake of publication of the final NRC, sources said on Monday. During the September 8-9 visit, Shah will chair a meeting of the NEC, to be attended by chief ministers and governors of eight Northeastern states.
“Shah is also likely to have separate meetings with Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and top functionaries of the Assam government and the state BJP leadership,” a source said. Shah is also the BJP President. The final National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published on Saturday.
According to the NRC, out of the total 3.3 crore applicants, 3.11 crore figured in the list and names of about?19 lakh people were excluded. After the list was published, Assam Finance Minister Himant Biswa Sarma and state BJP chief Ranjit Kumar Dass said they were unhappy with the NRC as names of many genuine Indian citizens were not included.
Both Sarma and Dass said there is a possibility of government taking some legislative options to protect the rights of genuine Indians. “Under this circumstances, the home minister’s visit bears significance,” another source said. This will be Shah’s first visit to Assam after becoming the home minister three months ago.
His earlier plan to attend the NEC meeting on August 3-4 was postponed, apparently due to his engagements ahead of abrogation of the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories, which was announced on August 5.
During his meeting with the chief ministers and governors at the NEC plenary, Shah will review and discuss with them the security situation and development issues, a home ministry official said. He will review the progress of various development issues at the NEC meeting.
Shah is expected to have a separate meeting to take stock of the security situation in the northeastern region, the official said. The NEC is the apex advisory body for securing balanced and coordinated development, and for facilitating effective coordination among the member states.
The body was restructured in July 2018 with the nomination of the home minister as the NEC chairman and the minister for development of north eastern region (DoNER) as the vice-chairman.
The NEC was established by North Eastern Council Act, 1971, initially as an apex-level advisory body for securing balanced and coordinated development and facilitating effective co-ordination amongst seven states of northeastern region—Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.
Subsequent to the amendment of NEC Act in December 2002, Sikkim was added as the eighth member state, and the NEC was mandated to function as a statutory regional planning body for the region.
Since its inception, the NEC has focused on improving connectivity of the region which has been a major bottleneck for all developmental activities.
In its endeavour, the council has contributed immensely towards the improvement of inter-state connectivity in the region.