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On Citizenship Bill, Assam CM Sonowal Urges People to Follow Reason Not Emotion

A six-year agitation by the AASU demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord by the Rajiv Gandhi government and the AASU on August 15, 1985.

PTI

Updated:January 17, 2019, 11:47 PM IST
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On Citizenship Bill, Assam CM Sonowal Urges People to Follow Reason Not Emotion
File photo of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
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Mangaldoi: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday called upon people to follow reason and not emotion to build a strong Assam and urged AASU, AGP and intelligentsia to cooperate in implementation of Clause 6 of the historic Assam Accord.

Sonowal was speaking at the state-level Silpi Divas celebration here in Darrang district.

"A section of vested interests is hell bound to create disturbance in Assam by spreading misinformation that 1.90 crore Bangladeshis will get citizenship as an outcome of the Citizenship Amendment Bill," he said.

"I, being the son of the soil, will under no circumstances allow my government to harm the interests of the indigenous people of the state," Sonowal said.

He urged the AASU, the Asom Gana Parishad, artist community and intelligentsia to wholeheartedly extend cooperation in the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.

Clause 6 seeks to provide constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.

A six-year agitation by the AASU demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord by the Rajiv Gandhi government and the AASU on August 15, 1985.

"In today's age of science and technology, the people of Assam should be motivated by reason and rationality instead of being guided by sheer emotions. Emotions do not always help in forging a strong society. I urge the people to use their rational bent of mind and analyse the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill thoroughly," he said.

Sonowal said steps have been taken by the Centre to provide constitutional safeguards for the indigenous people and ST status was granted to six communities of the state to permanently secure the locals' interests.

"Based on the national policy, the Citizenship Amendment Bill was drafted and Home Minister Rajnath Singh elaborately explained its salient features in Parliament," Sonowal said.

Stressing out that constitutional safeguards would act as an invincible shield to secure interests of the indigenous people, Sonowal said in states like Mizoram no one, except the locals, could enjoy land and political rights due to existing constitutional privileges.

He also claimed that as a result of sincere efforts of the central and state governments, sealing of Indo-Bangladesh border would be complete soon.

He said the major push given by the present dispensation in expeditious updation of the NRC would also help in identifying the genuine and the illegal citizens.

Noting that the Congress government had unilaterally imposed IMDT Act on the people of Assam, the chief minister said the present central government was working in a transparent manner, with the setting up of the Joint Parliamentary Committee for the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill being a case in point.

He also came down heavily on the Congress and the Left forces, saying had they supported the six-year-long Assam Movement from 1979, "then 850 precious lives of youths of the state would not have been lost".

Silpi Divas commemorates the death anniversary of Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, a songwriter, poet, writer and maker of Assam's first film in 1935.

Sonowal said the cultural icon of Assam had put the state on a robust platform with his life-long dedication and strengthened the edifice of cultural landscape with his unparallel contributions.

He said Agarwala's creations had given a new identity and dimension to Assamese culture in the world and that the young generation guided by his principles and philosophy needed to work for strengthening the thread of unity and taking Assam forward.
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