Citizenship Bill: Sonowal says interests of indigenous people will be protected

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

PTI New Delhi, Delhi, India Jan 10, 2019, 11.06 PM (IST)

Facing widespread protests over the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal Thursday assured the indigenous people of the state that their interests will be protected by implementing clause 6 of the Assam Accord. 

Earlier, speaking at a Fish Food festival here, the chief minister urged the people to keep faith on the government and maintain harmony. He said the indigenous people of the state should not feel threatened as the government was not going to allow anyone to harm their interests.

Sonowal said too many movements and agitations are hampering the growth of the state. He urged the people to start a positive movement to develop the state at a rapid pace. Asked by journalists about the Bill on the sidelines of the festival, Sonowal refused to comment but assured Clause 6 of the Assam Accord will be implemented to protect the interests of the indigenous people of the state. Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, signed on August 15, 1985, after a prolonged agitation from 1979 to 1985, envisaged that appropriate constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.

Speaking at the festival organised by the Assam Fisheries Development Corporation Limited, he said the fishery sector has immense potential and people must vigorously engage in it for deriving maximum benefits. “Assam is blessed with abundant water resources and we have the capacity to become biggest producer and exporter of fish in the country,” he said and emphasised on adoption of latest scientific technologies for augmenting fish production. Referring to the Act East Policy of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government, Sonowal urged the youth of the state to take up fishery as a profession and contribute to the cause of making the state self-reliant in fish production.

Saying countries like Vietnam have been able to sell fish imported from India at a higher rate by catering to the needs of the European consumers, Sonowal urged the people to adopt such practices to derive maximum benefits from the fish produced in the state. He also informed that cargo service has been launched recently in the state through which state’s farmers can export and sell their products in different parts of the country and the world and urged the fish producers to take advantage of the facility. The government is taking all steps to popularise farming among the youth as a respectable means of livelihood, he states.