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Won’t allow outsiders to settle in Assam: PM Modi

KOKRAJHAR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday sought to mollify Assam’s worry that changes in the Citizenship Act will result in an influx of more outsiders to the state, and cautioned people against “certain sections” trying to mislead them.

“Certain sections of society are trying to mislead the people of Assam and north-east over the Act. Rumours are being spread that outsiders will be allowed to settle in Assam, but this is not correct. I am here to assure all that anti-Assam and anti-national mentality won’t be tolerated and no outsider will be allowed to settle in the region,” the PM said on his first visit to Assam after passage of the Citizens hip Amendment Act (CAA). Modi had to twice abort his plan to visit Assam because of the anti-CAA stir.

Protesters feared that the new citizenship law would facilitate the entry of more outsiders into the state which has seen its demography transformed because of illegal infiltration from Bangladesh. PM Modi also promised that his government would take measures to safeguard the language, identity and culture of Assam’s indigenous people. “The government is now trying to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. I promise that after the committee submits its report, the Centre will act on it swiftly,” he added.

Modi was addressing a big rally to mark the signing of the Bodo Accord, which resulted in all the militant Bodo groups dropping the demand for creation of a separate state of Bodoland by hiving off Bodo-dominated districts of Assam.

The visit, however, acquired significance because of the Centre’s anxiety to wean away anti-CAA protesters in the state from the larger agitation playing out in the rest of the country. Promises made by Modi were part of the efforts that have so far seen the Centre reaching out to people of the state by declaring Assamese to be the sole official language and getting the Bodos to recognise the state’s territorial integrity. The outreach has helped soften the intensity of the resistance. The All Assam Students Union, which has been spearheading protests against CAA and had declared the state off limits for the PM, did not issue a bandh call when he arrived on Friday.

Aasu general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi termed the decision a goodwill gesture. “The PM is coming for their (Bodos) celebration. The sentiments and emotions of the Bodo people are attached to this and we do not think we should destroy our society and strong bond of brotherhood by protesting,” he said.

The Oboro Surakha Samity, a non-Bodo organisation opposing the accord, also withdrew its bandh call following assurance of a meeting with the PM. Modi met their representatives at Guwahati airport and promised them that the Centre would hold discussions with them later this month. Hailing the Bodo Accord that ended one of the biggest separatist campaigns in the country, Modi said, “Insurgency in the Northeast had been on for decades and thousands of lives were lost. But past governments were reluctant to address the problems. The Northeast is no longer ‘algao’ (separatist), it is now ‘lagao’ (dedication).”

He added, “Lakhs of people in the Northeast did not know what development meant. This is because political parties understood their problems but used to ignore revolts, blockades and violent protests. They just contained them but never tried to solve them. This approach had pushed the people of the region so far that they had stopped believing in democracy and the Constitution.”

News Source The Times of India

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