Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government is committed to preserving linguistic and cultural rights as well as the social identity of people in northeastern states.

“In northeastern states, we will try to address the issues raised by them about the law. We repeat our commitment to preserving the language, culture, and social identity rights of northeastern states. There are provisions to preserve these rights. The concern of the northeast will be addressed, we had said this earlier,” Shah said in the Upper House where The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was tabled today.

His remarks came amid protests in several northeastern states protesting against the CAB, which seeks to grant Indian citizenship to refugees from Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Zoroastrian communities fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who entered India on or before December 31, 2014.

The home minister highlighted that the NDA government constituted a committee to protect the indigenous culture of Assam.

“Continuing the protection in northeastern states, in Schedule VI, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, and now Manipur has been notified. This Bill will not be applicable in tribal areas. These provisions will be applicable in Inner Line Permit areas Mizoram, Arunachal, a major part of Nagaland and Manipur,” Shah said.

“In 1985, the Assam accord happened. There is a provision in clause 6 to protect the indigenous culture of the state. From 1985 to 2014, the committee was not constituted for Clause 6. I want to assure that NDA Government through committee to supervise clause 6 will protect rights of Assam. We have constituted the Committee and All Assam Students’ Union is part of the committee. I want them to send a report of the Committee quickly,” he said.

Opposition parties including Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, Trinamool Congress, DMK are protesting against the bill, which was passed by Lok Sabha on Monday with a majority of 311 votes against 80 in the Lower House where 391 members were present and voted.

In the 245-member Rajya Sabha, the halfway mark is currently 121 as five seats are vacant bringing down the strength of the House to 240.

(ANI)

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