Rajat Sharma

People of Assam must listen to Prime Minister’s assurance on CAB

akb2910Thousands of people defied curfew in Guwahati on Thursday to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill. There were incidents of violence and arson. Two persons were killed and nine others were injured in police firing in Guwahati.

Curfew has been clamped in several districts of Assam and train services have been suspended. Internet and mobile services have been suspended in most parts of Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura to stop baseless rumours from being circulated. The police commissioner in Guwahati and the Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) have been transferred.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in tweets posted in English and Asomiya, gave his firm assurance to the people of Assam that he and the Central government were “totally committed to constitutionally safeguard the political, linguistic, cultural and land rights of the Assamese people in accordance with the spirit of Clause 6 of 1985 Assam Accord. I want to assure my brothers and sisters of Assam that they have nothing to worry after the passing of CAB. I want to assure them – no one can take away your rights, unique identity and beautiful culture. It will continue to flourish and grow.”

The PM repeated these assurances in his election rallies in Jharkhand and alleged that Congress is trying to mislead the Muslims and people of North East on CAB. There is no doubt that the PM’s appeal for calm will have its effect in the North East as the majority of people continue to repose their trust in his leadership.

Apart from the PM’s appeal for calm, people of North East must be told that the CAB will have practically no effect on northeastern states because of Inner Line Permit system which bars outsiders from taking permanent residence in most of those states.

Prime Minister Modi has reminded the people that he has paid more visits to the North East compared to all the visits by previous Prime Ministers to the North East. He has been sending at least two cabinet ministers every week to the North East on a regular basis to keep track of the projects that are coming up there.

I would appeal to the people of North East, particularly the youths, to trust the Prime Minister, have patience and avoid resorting to violent protests. Assam’s properties belong to the Assamese and they must not damage them. Arson and vandalizing of properties will take them nowhere. They have full freedom in expressing their opinions, but they should do that in a peaceful manner. Let wisdom prevail.

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