09 September 2019
Guwahati: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday asked the indigenous people of northeast not to worry over the proposed citizenship amendment bill as it won't affect their rights.
Addressing the fourth conclave of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), he said that three Chief Ministers of the northeast had raised the citizenship amendment bill issue, expressing apprehensions that the proposed legislation may curtail the rights of the indigenous people.
"There is no need to worry about the Citizenship Amendment Bill. It won't affect their rights. The bill has the provision of giving citizenship to minorities from neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh," Shah said.
The Home Minister also reiterated that the Centre would not tinker with the Constitution's Article 371 that ensures certain special provisions for the northeastern states and assured that "no infiltrator would be allowed" in Assam or any other part of the country.
"Article 371 is permanent and the right of the states of northeast. In order to preserve the cultural identity of the region, this article will be kept as is."
Stressing that all northeastern states should come together to jointly promote tourism, Shah assured that effective steps would be taken to prevent human trafficking as well as smuggling of arms and drugs in border areas of the region.
"All eight states of the northeast will have to come together. A state cannot think of only its own development in silo. Development cannot be achieved in isolation. All states should come together to promote tourism and to prevent flooding."
The Home Minister said that all states should also work towards solving boundary issues and plan for development, assuring them of "full backing of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government".
"We have to create a northeast that becomes an engine of India's growth story, and plays a key role in India's GDP growth. Under PM Narendra Modi's leadership, this vision will soon become a reality."
Shah also accused the Congress of spreading "corruption and conflict" in the northeast as well as stopping growth of the region only to maintain its regime.
From independence till 2014, he alleged, there was only a concerted effort to create divisions and animosity between the people, cultures and tribes of northeast, but after the advent of the Modi government, there was only the politics of development.
"Congress has done a sin of giving space to corruption in the northeast. The party blocked the development in the region. Congress never tried to solve the issue of armed groups in the northeast, it only led to deepening the problem. Congress only tried to maintain its regime."
Recalling his first visit to northeast in 2015 when he first spoke about making the region Congress-free, Shah said he was happy now because Congress is no more in all the eight states of the region.