GUWAHATI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that the Centre was working hard to get the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 passed in Parliament. “The government is going ahead with the Citizenship Bill, which involves the lives of people. This Bill is aimed at expiating injustice done to some people in the past. I am confident it will be passed in Parliament soon,” Modi said at a rally in Silchar in Assam’s Barak Valley.
The Bengali-majority Barak Valley is made up of three of Assam’s 33 districts. A large number of people from the region were left out of the complete draft of the National Register of Citizens.
“Mistakes were made in the past when the country was divided... Some people had stayed back in some places and if they face difficulties there, it is the duty of Mother India to give shelter to them. Those reposing faith in Mother India will be protected,” Modi said.
The Citizenship Bill, if passed, will be in conflict with the NRC and the Assam Accord. The PM’s remarks came amid widespread protests against the Bill in Assamese-majority Brahmaputra Valley. The Bill’s passage will legitimise the stay of non-Muslim immigrants of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, who migrated till December 31, 2014, in India.
The NRC is being updated in deference to the Assam Accord. In the Assam Accord of 1985, which the then PM Rajiv Gandhi had signed with the All Assam Students’ Union after a six-year-long bloody Assam Agitation, it was committed that the illegal immigrants who entered Assam after March 24, 1971 will be detected and deported. The NRC has the same cut-off date.
Trying to assuage those who were left out, the PM said, “Many of you faced hardships during the process of updation of NRC. You have worries about it. But I assure you that no Indian citizen will be left out of the NRC. Efforts are being made to ensure that every individual is heard.”
What’s the Bill all about
It seeks to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh after six years of residence in India