A delegation from Assam led by the Chief Minister Shri Sarbananda Sonowal met the Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh in New Delhi this weekend. The delegation included Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma, Senior Minister in Government of Assam and some other BJP leaders of the State. They discussed the issues related to safeguards for preserving the cultural and linguistic identity and heritage of Assam and implementation of Clause-6 of the Assam Accord and issues related to grant of tribal status to six communities.
Several representatives of the Bodo groups including the Bodoland Territorial Council chief Shri Hagrama Muhilary, Shri Chandan Brahma, Minister from BPF in the State Government & Shri Biswajit Daimary, MP also met the Union Home Minister over the weekend and discussed the various outstanding demands of Bodo community.
The Union Home Minister said that while introducing the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha on 8th January, he had made it abundantly clear that the Bill is not meant for the individuals belonging to six minorities who have come from one particular country. It is also not meant for individuals who are living in one particular State. At the same time, Shri Rajnath Singh said, it is a fact that Assam has borne the disproportionate burden of migration due to religious persecution in our neighbouring countries.
The Union Home Minister said he had therefore made it clear that Assam should not bear this burden alone. It is the responsibility of the entire country and the burden should also be shared by the entire country, he added.
Shri Rajnath Singh said we are committed to helping the persons belonging to six minority communities, who have been compelled to come to India
because of religious persecution in the three neighbouring countries. Those who qualify for citizenship under the amended Citizenship Act would be free to reside and settle in any State, he added.
The Union Home Minister said the Government will also expect the recommendations of the High Powered Committee which has been set up to suggest measures for implementation of the Clause-6 of the Assam Accord. The action taken by the Government to set up this High Level Committee is a landmark step in the direction of preserving the cultural, linguistic identity of Assam. This Committee has a very broad mandate. Shri Rajnath Singh urged all those, who have the interest of Assam and the Assamese people in their hearts, to take advantage of this historic opportunity.
The Union Home Minister said the decision to grant tribal status to six communities should also be seen in the same spirit. He assured the Bodo leaders that this decision will be implemented only after ensuring that the political and employment related privileges and rights of the existing tribes in Assam are fully protected. Necessary modalities for this will be worked out by the State Governments in consultation with all the stakeholders.
Shri Rajnath Singh said certain misgivings about the Citizenship Amendment Bill are being spread. As Union Home Minister had said in his Statement in the Lok Sabha on 8th January and again in the Rajya Sabha on 9th January, the Government is fully committed to preserving the cultural and linguistic identity and heritage of Assam as well as the other States in the North East.
The Union Home Minister will soon be calling a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the concerned States. They will further discuss about the safeguards that need to be provided for protecting the interests of these States & protecting their cultural & linguistic identity.