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Assam Citizenship Bill row: CM Sonowal dubs protests as motivated campaign to stall pace of development in state

File photo of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. Photograph:( DNA )

PTI Guwahati, Assam, India Feb 04, 2019, 09.29 AM (IST)

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has claimed that a “motivated campaign” is going on surrounding the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to derail the pace of the development the state is witnessing in the BJP rule.

Addressing the Asha and National Health Mission convention here, Sonowal assured the people that the land, culture, language of the indigenous people are fully safe in the hands of the present government. 

“This (protests against the Bill) is a motivated campaign to derail the pace of development of the state. I urge all people to stand united to thwart the evil design of divisive forces,” he said Sunday.

The chief minister alleged that a misinformation campaign has been launched by certain vested interest groups that 1.9 crore Bangladeshi immigrants would get a settlement in Assam in the days to come if the Bill is implemented. 

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims who fled religious persecution from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before December 31, 2014. 

Protests against the bill have rocked the entire northeast over the past five weeks, with several organisations and political parties vehemently opposing it. 

The protesters claim that the bill will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of illegal immigrants, irrespective of religion.

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The protesters claim that the bill will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of illegal immigrants, irrespective of religion.