The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) will be reintroduced in the Parliament in November, Assam Finance, Health and PWD Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday. Furthermore, he said that a new NRC will be prepared under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
On his one day visit to Silchar as part of the Rashtriya Ekta Abhiyan, Sarma said, “If no more hurdles come in the way, then CAB will be passed in November.” He added, “we would pass this bill in all likelihood by November next. But all parties would be taken into confidence for the same, especially those from the Northeast to safeguard their cultural and linguistic rights.”
Reiterating his stand on NRC, Sarma said, “Let there be a case in the Supreme Court and we will say that BJP rejects this NRC. We do not believe in this NRC. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah there will be another NRC. Those laughing now will cry for sure. A law will also be passed to grant citizenship to those who came to India due to religious persecution.”
The NRC was not what was expected, Sarma confirmed. He said, “The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is not what we expected. BJP does not want any confrontation or chaos over the CAB. Despite massive protests and agitation, the BJP has been able to win 99 per cent votes across Assam in the Lok Sabha election. There will be another comprehensive NRC after we come up with the CAB with the consent of all stakeholders.”
Himanta Biswa Sarma further stated, “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, Sixth Schedule provisions.” “We need a bill… cannot allow infiltration to continue. So we need a bill to stop this,” the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor added.
Sarma also assuaged the concerns of the Assamese community regarding the Citizenship Amendment Bill. “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 CAB 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 their motherland,” he said.
The architect of the BJP’s rise in the Northeast, Himanta Biswa Sarma said that linguistic nationalism is the most dangerous threat that Assam faces. He said, “Language must remain but the most dangerous problem for Assam is language-based nationalism. Assamese are never against Bengalis.”
There has been a lot of anguish over the final NRC where huge numbers of Bengali Hindus were left out of the list whereas regions of the state that have undergone a tectonic demographic shift due to illegal Muslim immigration from Bangladesh have not reported illegals in any significant number. Too many people feel betrayed with the NRC and Sarma has been saying since then that the NRC did not work out in the manner it was supposed to work. The state government was aware of the issues with NRC, and had asked the Supreme Court for reverification, but the apex court didn’t accept that.