He also sought to make a distinction between illegal immigrants from across the border and people who have fled a neighbouring country to escape persecution on account of their faith.
Illegal immigration is a big issue in the north-east (and especially in Assam), and the government’s decision to go ahead with the citizenship bill – it has two more days next week to pass it in Parliament – has provoked angry responses in the region where the party has made significant gains in recent years. The Asom Gana Parshid (AGP) recently snapped its ties with the BJP government in Assam over the citizenship bill. The opposition to the bill has united many north-eastern parties.
Ten political parties from the north-east, including the BJP’S current and former allies, came together last month to oppose the controversial bill. The parties, several belonging to the Bjp-led North East Democratic Alliance resolved to oppose the bill “in the interest of the people of northeast”.
This is of concern to the BJP, which was looking to better its tally in the north-east in the summer’s Lok Sabha elections. All told, the seven north-eastern states send 25 representatives to Parliament. The BJP currently holds eight of these seats and was hoping to increase that tally to almost 20.
The Prime Minister also said in his speech in Assam that his government is committed to implementing all aspects of the Assam Accord, including Clause 6 which promises to have constitutional and legal safeguards for the protection of the cultural and social identity of the Assamese.
Modi also said that a lot of protests over the citizenship law were the result of misinformation being spread by his rivals. The Congress has said the bill will create ethnic divisions not just in Assam but the entire north-east and could lead to a resurgence of extremist groups.
Modi was visiting Assam for the first time since the citizenship bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8. It awaits the approval of Rajya Sabha, where the ruling coalition is short of numbers.
In Guwahati, Modi inaugurated development projects worth about ₹18,000 crore including a gas processing plant, a biorefinery, a gas pipeline and a sixlane bridge. He inaugurated pro- jects worth more than ₹4,000 crore in Arunachal Pradesh for an airport near the state capital Itanagar, a hydro-electric project, a national television channel and 50 health and wellness centres.
“Arunachal Pradesh is a strategically important state related to national security. And yet, earlier governments didn’t improve facilities here. The Centre has allocated funds worth ₹44,000 crore to the state over the past few years,” Modi said.
Speaking at a rally in Tripura, Modi appealed to voters to choose a strong government in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. “You supported us [in assembly elections] eleven months ago… I appeal to you for similar support for the Lok Sabha elections.”
National People’s Party (NPP) president and Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma on Saturday threatened that his party will quit the Bjp-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) if the proposed legislation is passed in Rajya Sabha.
Reacting to Modi’s remarks, Assam Congress MLA Debabrata Saikia said: “The citizenship bill will encourage fundamentalist elements in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and… lead to a loss of cultural identity in Assam.”
Atul Bora of the Asom Gana Parishad said the bill will violate provisions of the Assam Accord which assure the protection of Assamese cultural identity. familiar with the matter, the issue has been repeatedly flagged at meetings of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological parent of the BJP.
Twitter denied these allegations. In a statement issued on Friday, the company said, “Twitter is a global platform that serves a global, public conversation. Elevating debate and open discourse is fundamental to the platform’s service, and its core values as a company. Twitter is committed to remain unbiased with the public interest in mind.”
“The public conversation around Twitter’s policies and actions may be distorted by some who have a political agenda and this may be particularly acute during election cycles when highly-charged political rhetoric becomes more common. For our part, we will endeavour to be even more transparent in how we develop and enforce our policies to dispel conspiracy theories and mistrust,” Colin Crowell, global vice president, public policy, Twitter, added in the statement.
A senior functionary of the RSS said it was soon after the January 1, 2018 clash between Maratha and Dalit groups in Maharashtra’s Bhima Koregaon that escalated into violence that functionaries of the Sangh began to notice posts on social media that were allegedly “anti-national” and had the potential to create “communal friction”.
The content of some of the posts was construed to be similar to the expressions used by so-called “urban naxals”, this person said on condition of anonymity. Urban naxals is a term coined by the right wing for leftwing intellectuals who, they say, are suspected to have links to Maoist organisations.
“Posts that spoke of destabilising the nation, that attacked the sovereignty of the country were being put up. No action was being taken, despite complaints to Twitter,” the functionary added.
It was then that the Sangh chose to knock on Thakur’s doors.
With 34.4 million users, Twitter has emerged as a key platform for political and social conversations. Given the reach of the medium, even the Election Commission has been monitoring the posts to ensure there is no adverse impact on election processes.
Experts said Twitter and other platforms need to become more transparent. “Unless Twitter and other internet giants implement principles of natural justice, they will always be accused of bias,” said Sunil Abraham, co-founder of the think tank Centre for Internet and Society, adding that the platform does not “provide sufficient transparency regarding its decisions”.
Lawyer Apar Gupta said that the parliamentary panel on IT needs to f unction more robustly. “It has not invited experts, academics, and civil society voices for deliberations. Also, the outcomes from hearings such as the ones on Aadhaar, privacy. data breaches, and net neutrality, done a while back, remain outstanding. Reports or recommendations have not been made to parliament.”
In general, parliamentary panels do allow hearings to be deferred at the request of someone who has been summoned, although this is usually at the discretion of the chairman and also if the request is made immediately after the summons is issued.
Gupta added that usually, a breach of privilege complaint is made by the chairman of the committee to the Lok Sabha speaker “who will then approve it and send it to the Privileges Committee of the Lok Sabha”. observer of Nadia district. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Bengal president Dilip Ghosh refuted the allegations and said: “It’s a most unfortunate incident. Anubrata Mondal (Trinamool party president of Birbhum district) is importing this culture of violence from Birbhum to Nadia. We want the truth to be revealed. Criminals have united under the banner of the ruling party. The tendency to label accusations against the BJP must end. Has anyone of the BJP ever been found to be linked with incidents of violence, though allegations are made all the time?” The BJP’S Bengal unit general secretary Sayantan Basu alleged that Biswas’s death could be an outcome of Trinamool’s factional fights. He demanded that the investigation in the case be handed over to central agencies.
The incident comes amid political tension in the state, with Trinamool Congress president and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee recently holding a sit-in in Kolkata after blocking the Central Bureau of Investigation’s attempt to arrest the city’s police commissioner Rajeev Kumar in the Saradha chit fund fraud case. The Supreme Court later said the CBI should not take any “coercive action” against Kumar, but allowed his questioning by the agency in Shillong. Both Banerjee and leaders of the BJP claimed victory over the issue after the apex court’s ruling.