Rajat Sharma

Centre must counter falsehood with truth in North-east over CAB issue

akb0810Violence raged in Assam and Tripura on Tuesday during protests against Citizenship Amendment Bill. Traders were attacked and shops were set ablaze in two districts of Tripura, while there was widespread violence on the streets of Guwahati, the nerve centre of North-East.

There were incidents of stone throwing and arson, and police had to use teargas to quell mobs. Internet services were suspended for 48 hours in Tripura to stop baseless rumours from circulating. At least 1,000 people were detained in Assam.

People in Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh are protesting against CAB, but the fact is that this Bill will have no effect on these two states. Most of the states are protected under Inner Line Permit and Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. This schedule provides for special protection to tribals residing in these states. It also covers Meghalaya and Mizoram. There cannot be any demographic change based on CAB in these states.
There is the Tribal Area Autonomous Development Council working in Tripura, only for the benefit and protection of tribals. The Inner Line Permit system is in force in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. This system has been legalized under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873. The permit allows outsiders to visit these states only for a certain period, they cannot reside there permanently and will have to leave once the permit period is over. Hence, the Citizenship Amendment Bill clearly demarcates these areas as states where the CAB will have no effect.

The problem is in Assam, where local leaders are fanning hatred and arousing fear in the minds of Assamese. It is because of these local leaders that violence is spiralling due to falsehood that is being spread. The Centre should intervene immediately and calm the fears of the people by disseminating the truth to counter falsehood. The sooner the better.

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