Assam Chief Minister defends CAA, assures people of security
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has come out in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Assam: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has come out in support of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) His move has triggered widespread protests across Assam and rest of India. Sarbananda Sonowal said the act safeguards the interests of the native people of Assam.
The Assam chief minister said the Citizenship Amendment Act will in no way adversely affect Assam's indigenous population of because the Centre has already framed rules for protecting interests of the Assamese people.
Speaking to the media officially, the Chief Minister said: "People should have no doubt or confusion in their mind regarding this law (CAA). We have many plans regarding the protection of their interests...I want to assure all 'khilonjiya bhumiputras' (sons of the soil) that they are completely secure and there is no power that can endanger their existence. No new people will come into Assam, and even if they try, we will not allow it...a cut-off date of December 31, 2014, has been fixed as eligibility for the citizenship. If one reads the rules, it will become clear that no Bangladeshi or anybody from some other countries can take advantage of the Act to enter our country. We are now being portrayed as criminals who have sacrificed the interest of the people of Assam for the sake of the party. What have we done that this kind of misinformation campaign is being spread?" Chief Minister Sonowal asked.
Defending the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, Sarbananda Sonowal said the law is applicable only to those who have already lived in India for decades. "It is only those who have lived for decades in this country who can apply for citizenship. These applications will then be examined, and only if they are found to be valid, they will be given citizenship," Sonowal said.
Speaking about the opposition on the Act, the CM said "All previous government had not given any importance to the Assam Accord department but my government has rejuvenated it and the first step that we took after assuming office was to announce financial grants for the martyrs and those injured in the Assam agitation against illegal infiltrators. All Assam Students Union (AASU) had "bestowed on me the title of Jatiya Nayak in 2005 but even then I had made it clear that it is the martyrs who have sacrificed their lives during the agitation and it is they and not me who are the real heroes".
He said that he was a product of the Assamese community's jatiya chetana (nationalist awakening) and "just because I have joined a national party (BJP) does not mean that I have given up my roots, culture or my commitment to the state".