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Amit Shah visits ‘disturbed area’ Assam

  • Published at 07:42 pm September 8th, 2019
INDIA-POLITICS/CITIZENSHIP
Activists of Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) shout slogans during a protest against what they say is the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the northeastern state of Assam, in Ahmedabad, India, September 5, 2019 Reuters

'I have clarified in parliament that this is not going to happen and I am saying it again today in the presence of eight chief ministers of North East that the central government will not touch Article 371.' said Shah

India’s Home Minister Amit Shah visited in the northeast Indian state of Assam for a two-day visit that was preceded by the state government declaring Assam a "Disturbed Area" under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 yesterday.

The state government extended the Act for a period of six months, PTI reported. The notification, backdated from August 28, two days before the release of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The law gives the military sweeping powers to search and arrest, and to open fire if they deem it necessary for “the maintenance of public order,” and to do so with a degree of immunity from prosecution.

The central government first imposed the act in 1990. However, the central government ceded its power to the state in 2017, and asked the state government to decide whether the act should continue.

Meanwhile, during a two day visit in Assam, Amit Shah said the central government would not alter Article 371 of Constitution that grants special provisions to states in the North East, reported PTI. 

“After abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, there were attempts to misinform and misguide the people of North East that Article 371 would also be scrapped by the central government,” he said in Guwahati, the largest city of Assam, to address the 68th plenary session of the North East Council.

“I have clarified in parliament that this is not going to happen and I am saying it again today in the presence of eight chief ministers of North East that the central government will not touch Article 371.”

The home minister said Article 370 was temporary in nature, and there was vast a difference between the two. Most of the states in the North East have been accorded special provisions under Article 371 to preserve their tribal culture, he added. Article 371B deals with special provision granted to Assam.

This was Shah’s first visit to Assam since the NRC was published on August 31. During his two-day stay in Assam, the minister is likely to review the situation in the state, reported NDTV. 

More than 1.9 million people were excluded in the final list of the updated citizens’ database. The number of people left out comprise around 6% of Assam’s entire population, two times the number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and the population of Nagaland.