New Delhi: Members of Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) on Monday staged protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill at Majuli, the home constituency of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
The agitators observed the day as a “black day” when Sonowal arrived in the river island to take part in a meeting with party leaders over the forthcoming Mising Autonomous Council on January 21. They shouted slogans like “Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Go Back” and “Down with Citizenship Amendments Bill”.
Amid the protest, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has decided to meet the chief ministers of northeastern states “very soon” to discuss the protection of rights and people’s interests.
The minister gave the assurance in separate meetings with different delegations headed by Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal last week.
“Rajnath Singh assured the delegations that the interests of all northeastern states, including Manipur and Assam, and their culture and heritage will be fully protected. He will call a meeting of all the Chief Ministers,” a Home Ministry statement said. People from Manipur, Meghalaya, and Assam took to streets after the Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed in both Houses of Parliament in the winter session aimed to remove hurdles for eligible migrants of six minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan from getting Indian citizenship.
The proposed Citizenship Bill has triggered apprehension in the region that it will not be in the interest of the indigenous people of North-East. Various North-East parties have let it be known that once the Bill is implemented, the northeastern states could be flooded with a large number of illegal immigrants and foreigners from neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Myanmar and so on, as international borders are porous.
A delegation from Assam led by the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal also met Rajnath Singh this weekend over the issue.
Notably, the Lok Sabha had passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. Speaking on the bill, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said it will pave way for the religious minorities—the Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Parsis— from these states to get Indian citizenship.