News & Information From Northeast India

New Citizenship Bill will satisfy people’s concerns: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will be moved in Parliament in the forthcoming session in November, adding the new draft of the bill will satisfy the concerns of the people of the Northeast.

Sarma said that the new bill will neither override the provisions of Article 371 and the Sixth Schedule nor will it affect the existing laws protecting the tribal culture, language and their ethnicity.

The minister said the bill is also not going to affect the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system which is in force in some of the Northeast states.

“In the Northeast states, there are many state laws which are protecting the tribals, their language and culture. The new bill, which is being planned by the Centre, is not going to affect any of them. It will largely satisfy the concerns of the people of the Northeast that their culture and language will not be affected,” Sarma said in Guwahati.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was moved by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), lapsed after the ruling party failed to pass it in both houses of the Parliament.

The BJP, after coming back to power earlier this year, announced that it is going to bring back the bill.

Sarma, who is also the convener of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance, further said his party has already started the process of consultation with different stakeholders in the region over the bill.

“Senior BJP leaders have started visiting the Northeast and meeting different stakeholders. More senior BJP leaders are likely to come here during next one month so that the consultation could be completed before the next session of Parliament,” he said.

Saying that the BJP is not happy with the recently published National Register of Citizens (NRC) list, the Assam finance minister said there is a strong case for review and the government will approach the Supreme Court for reviewing the whole NRC process.

The BJP-led government in Assam had earlier petitioned the Supreme Court seeking a re-verification of the people included in the draft NRC, which was turned down by the apex court.

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