Modi reaches out to north-east on cit­i­zen­ship is­sue

ALLAYING FEARS PM launches projects in As­sam, Arunachal, Tripura

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HTPUNJAB - Sadiq Naqvi, Utpal Parashar and Priyanka Deb Bar­man let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

GUWAHATI/AGAR­TALA/CHANGSARI: Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi as­sured the peo­ple of As­sam and other north-eastern states on Satur­day that they would not be disadvantaged by the cit­i­zen­ship bill, which aims to grant cit­i­zen­ship rights to non-Mus­lim mi­nori­ties from three neigh­bour­ing coun­tries – among his first pub­lic state­ments on an is­sue that has roiled the re­gion.

The Prime Min­is­ter’s com­ments came in a speech in Guwahati, As­sam; the Prime Min­is­ter also ad­dressed ral­lies in Itana­gar, Arunachal Pradesh and Agar­tala, Tripura. On Fri­day, in Guwahati, the Prime Min­is­ter’s cav­al­cade was met by hun­dreds of black-flag-wav­ing pro­test­ers who sig­nalled their op­po­si­tion to the pro­posed law.

“Peo­ple who ru­ined this coun­try are now spread­ing lies… about the bill for their own ben­e­fit. We need to be wary of them,” Modi said.

“It is a na­tional com­mit­ment to the peo­ple of the north-east that they will not be harmed in any way and cit­i­zen­ship will only be granted after due in­ves­ti­ga­tion and rec­om­men­da­tion of the state gov­ern­ments,” he said.

Protests have bro­ken out in north-eastern states over the cit­i­zen­ship bill amid con­cern that the leg­is­la­tion could di­lute lo­cal and indige­nous iden­tity by ac­cel­er­at­ing de­mo­graphic change. The bill pro­vides that “per­sons be­long­ing to mi­nor­ity com­mu­ni­ties, namely, Hin­dus, Sikhs, Bud­dhists, Jains, Par­sis and Chris­tians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pak­istan” shall not be con­sid­ered il­le­gal mi­grants.

The PM as­sured his As­samese au­di­ence that cit­i­zen­ship would be granted to the peo­ple from the three neigh­bour­ing coun­tries only after they are vet­ted by the state gov­ern­ment and after a rec­om­men­da­tion by the lat­ter.

PTI

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi ad­dresses a gath­er­ing in Itana­gar, Arunachal Pradesh, on Satur­day.

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