Indigenous people’s rights will be protected: Sonowal

Assam CM says State has submitted recommendations

January 01, 2020 10:55 pm | Updated 10:55 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Strong stand: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal addressing a press conference in Guwahati.

Strong stand: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal addressing a press conference in Guwahati.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said here on Wednesday that protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) were premature since its rules had not been framed.

The recommendations submitted by the State government to the Centre for incorporating in the Act would protect the interests of the indigenous people of Assam, he told presspersons.

“No force can threaten the existence of the Assamese people as long as I am the Chief Minister,” Mr. Sonowal said.

“Rumours are being spread by the Congress and Left parties over the CAA. This is a national Act and not anything new. There is no truth in claims that the Act will bring in 1 crore to 2.5 crore Bangladeshis. Tea garden workers have been told foreigners will be settled on ceiling surplus land while villagers have been fed the fear that their vacant lands will be taken away by the beneficiaries of the CAA,” Mr. Sonowal said.

“There is no need to be afraid of the CAA. Our recommendations for framing the rules guarantee protection of the indigenous people,” the Chief Minister said, insisting that his government formed by the sons of the soil could not go against the people of Assam.

Alleging that rumours were fuelling anger against the Act, the Chief Minister said no government in Assam had since the signing of the Assam Accord in 1985 worked in the interest of the indigenous people.

The Accord had ended a violent six-year agitation for deporting “illegal migrants” from Assam.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative led to the creation of the committee for implementing Clause 6 of the Assam Accord (seeking constitutional safeguards for the Assamese people). Our government will act as soon as the panel submits its recommendations,” he said.

Thousands of people have been carrying out protests demanding the withdrawal of the CAA which seeks to fast-track the citizenship of people from six religious groups who fled religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan till December 31, 2014.

The protests, initially violent, claimed six lives — four in police firing.

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