12 Worried BJP MLAs Meet Assam CM, Urge Him To Allay Fears
Amid the ongoing protest over the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act in Assam, 12 BJP MLAs expressing their concern met the Chief Minister – Sarbananda Sonowal on December 20.
The lawmakers convinced the CM to urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address the tense situation in the state.
The MLAs also asked Sonowal to inform the people in the state on how the state government will protect the language and culture of the Assamese people from allaying fears and doubts arising out of the amended Act.
“I have had to go into hiding [after the violent anti-CAA protests that left six people dead] and was forced to leave hometown Dibrugarh. We cannot let such a situation continue. Reassure the people and resume our developmental activities,” BJP legislator Prasanta Phukan told The Hindu.
BJP MLA from Sooteam, Padma Hazarika, who led the delegation, said, “We have appealed to the CM to come forward with clarity on how he planned to safeguard the Assamese people.”
Hazarika said that if his stepping down from the party will repeal the Act, then he is ready to quit. “I joined BJP knowing well that CAA is on the party’s agenda and now I don’t have the moral right to reject it,” said Hazarika.
Worried legislators also asked the CM to immediately grant tribal status to the six communities of the state. They asked him to get a resolution passed by the cabinet stating Assamese would remain as the state language forever.
Soon after the meeting, the CM’s office said that the state will submit a recommendation of the group of ministers seeking Schedule Tribe (ST) status to Motok, Chutia, Tai-Ahom, Koch- Rajbongshi communities from January. The state government will also provide ₹125 crore to each of the tribal communities in four districts for generating employment opportunities, preservation of monuments, infrastructural development, etc.
The Citizenship Amendment Act seeks to provide citizenship to people from some minority communities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan – but excludes Muslims from its scope. The law, passed by Parliament on December 11, has been decried as anti-Muslim. Protestors in the northeastern states have alleged that it will erode their distinct ethnic identities.