GUWAHATI: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the false narrative of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) by some elements that 1-2 crore Bangladeshis would come to Assam and the Assamese and other indigenous communities would be wiped off had led to the recent violent incidents in the state.
“I had noticed the involvement of some elements in the agitation against the CAA. Those who misinterpreted it and gave false details about immigrants are responsible for the violence,” Sonowal told journalists in Guwahati on Friday.
“These elements want to destroy Assam. Some of them have been arrested. They had incited people and are the main enemies of the Assamese society. How can figures like 1 crore and 2 crore be acceptable?” he said.
The CM said a “small number” of the “persecuted” immigrants had been living in Assam for decades and only they could file for citizenship. The figures of such people will come to light when the process of registration for citizenship will end. The elements will be exposed, he said.
He asserted that as long as he was the state’s CM, he would not allow the Assamese to be weakened.
Stating that his government is focused on completely protecting the Assamese, he said it was the collective responsibility of the government and various organisations to tell people the truth.
Battered by the statewide spontaneous protests, the CM assured that Assamese would continue to be the state language.
“Assam will always be of the Assamese. Its land, language and culture will continue to be protected. None can snatch the land rights of the indigenous people. The elements had scared them into believing the immigrants would be rehabilitated on their land,” Sonowal said.
“We respect those who are staging peaceful and democratic protests. I appeal to them not to look at us differently. It was I who had moved the Supreme Court for the repeal of IMDT (Illegal Migrants’ Determination Tribunal) Act. I won’t forget the love the Assamese had bestowed on me. What I am today is due to your love and blessings…
“We are committed to work for the people. All steps that the government has taken so far were for the indigenous people so they can feel protected. So, don’t suspect us or keep us away from you,” a visibly emotional Sonowal said with his statement directed at people.
He said there was no political motive in amending the Citizenship Act stating that granting citizenship to the persecuted immigrants had been the BJP’s “national commitment”.
He urged the Centre-constituted high-powered Clause 6 Committee to submit its report as early as possible. Clause 6 of the Assam Accord says: “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people”.
Sonowal said it was propaganda that Muslims would be harassed vis-à-vis the CAA. He warned that those who were threatening BJP workers could not get away. In the wake of the protests, a lot of BJP workers had resigned across the state.