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Amit Shah: No illegal immigrant can stay in Assam or enter other states

  • Published at 09:13 pm September 9th, 2019
Amit Shah-Sarbananda Sonowal-Himanta Biswa Sarma
Union Home Minister of India and Chairman North Eastern Council (NEC) Amit Shah, centre, gesture along with Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal, left, Finance Minister of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma, right, as they arrive to attend the 68th Plenary session of the North Eastern Council (NEC) in Guwahati on September 8, 2019 AFP

Shah also accused the previous governments of the Congress party of alienating the North East from the rest of the country and sowing 'the seeds of strife'

Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday said that the Centre planned to expel all illegal immigrants from the country and not just Assam, PTI reported. The Union minister’s comments came days after 1.9 million people were excluded from the final National Register of Citizens in Assam.

"All states are worried about the NRC [National register of citizens]," Shah said in an address at the fourth conclave of the North-East Democratic Alliance, a version of the National Democratic Alliance in the region.

"Assam thinks NRC was wrong, smaller states felt there would be a spill over. Let me assure, not only Assam, we want the entire country to be cleansed of illegal migrants. We already have a plan ready. We will bring all states into confidence."

Shah also accused the previous governments of the Congress party of alienating the North East from the rest of the country and sowing "the seeds of strife." He blamed the party for not paying enough attention to the region that led to the rise in militancy. "It [Congress] always believed in the policy of divide and rule,” the minister said.

The home minister, on Sunday, had said that "not a single illegal immigrant" would be allowed to enter the region under the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre. But he had also assured that the central government would not alter Article 371 of Constitution that grants special provisions to the states in the North East.

Invite stakeholders for talks on Citizenship Bill

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma told Shah that the North East was concerned about the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, and asked him to speak to all the states in the region before bringing in the legislation. "What will happen after CAB [Citizenship (Amendment) Bill]? Will people continuously come from Bangladesh?" PTI quoted Sangma as saying. “Will there be any deadline or a continuous flow? We in Northeast have such fears."

Sangma, who made the remarks in the presence of Shah at the NEDA conclave, said that all the stakeholders should be invited for discussions to reach an agreement. "We are under the sixth schedule," said Sangma. "So will the CAB overlook local laws?. I believe you [Shah] will take care of our fears."

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to amend a 1955 law to grant citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from the Muslim-majority nations of Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan if they have lived in India for six years. It was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, but was not tabled in the Rajya Sabha.