Assam CM welcomes passage of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

Guwahati, Dec 10 (PTI) Amid widespread protest over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Assam, state Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday welcomed the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, in Lok Sabha describing it as a “historic moment”.
The Bill was passed in the Lower House of Parliament on Monday night as the ruling BJP enjoys a majority there.
“The passage of the Bill in Lok Sabha is a historic moment for us all. It will not only give relief to six persecuted minority communities from three neighbouring countries but will also pave the way for constitutional safeguards to the indigenous people of Assam,” Sonowal tweeted.
The Bill seeks to give Indian citizenship to members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there.
He also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah “for fulfilling a longstanding commitment of India and for taking everyone along and ensuring protection for all indigenous people”.
Assam Finance, Health and PWD Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also tweeted that the Bill will go down in “history as a glorious historical correction of a blunder committed by the Nehru-Liyaquat Pact”.
The then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his Pakistani counterpart Liaquat Ali Khan signed an agreement, known as the Nehru-Liaquat Pact, in 1950 to protect the minority communities in their respective countries.
Sarma thanked the Union home minister for tearing “into the opposition as he made an inspired speech while replying on the CAB in the Lok Sabha”.
Protests against the Bill have erupted across Assam – barring the three districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi in Barak Valley where the majority of the people are Hindu Bengalis hailing from Bangladesh and are expected to benefit from the CAB.
The North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), backed by various other bodies and political parties, has called an 11-hour bandh from 5 am against the Bill on Tuesday.
Indigenous people of the Northeastern states are scared that the entry of these people will endanger their identity and livelihood.
Trying to allay apprehensions of these people, Shah on Monday said in the Lok Sabha that the Narendra Modi government was committed to protect the customs and culture of the people of the region.