‘Citizenship Bill won’t affect Northeast’s special provisions’- Amit Shah

The Home Minister reiterated that as Article 371, under which the special provisions are granted, will remain, there’s no question of any influx of outsiders.


A day after he allayed fears of Article 371 being revoked, Union Home Minister Amit Shah today announced that if at all the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) is ever implemented, it would have no bearings on the Northeast, which enjoy special provisions under the Indian Constitution.

Speaking at the 4th Convention of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) here today, Shah said the BJP Government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi will never disturb any of the special provisions enjoyed by most of the states in the region.

“We understand the confusion and questions raised by few sections of the society regarding CAB. Let me assure if ever it happens, we will have extensive consultations with all stakeholders and see to it that all prevalent acts and laws safeguarding the geographical as well as cultural integrity of the states will remain,” he said.

The Home Minister reiterated that as Article 371, under which the special provisions are granted, will remain, there’s no question of any influx of outsiders.

He also assured that the Center will not allow any illegal immigrant to settle in any of the states in the region in the backdrop of the NRC exercise in Assam.

Complimenting NEDA for running the governments in all the eight North-Eastern states, Shah attributed it to the good governance and special care of the Modi government in the last five years. He said Congress, which ruled the region for decades failed to meet people’s expectations and therefore was show the door out.

“Hallmark of Congress was corruption while BJP from day one took up the cudgels to root out corruption and here’s the result. Out of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the North East, 19 MPs were elected from either BJP or a NEDA constituent,” Shah pointed.

Squarely blaming Congress for the under-development of the region, Shah claimed development of NE was never in their (Congress) agenda. He alleged that Congress’s only agenda was to divide and rule.

“Today all the North-Eastern states are united as one under the umbrella of NEDA and this platform can become the game-changer for the region. All pending issues can be resolved amicably and a united effort can be made for development of each state,” he said.

As all the states are now related to each other, courtesy NEDA, Shah called for resolving all the inter-state boundary issues amicably through dialogue.

“When we could resolve the boundary issue with Bangladesh, why can’t states of the North East resolve their inter-state boundary disputes? We are not different countries. We are states of the same country and we are all members of NEDA. It is the right platform and right time to resolve all such pending issues for North East to develop as a whole,” he said.

Shah suggested that all the states of the region make a concerted effort to boost tourism in the region instead of making state-specific plans and policies. He advised that Chief Ministers or Tourism Ministers of all the states come together and make a comprehensive North East Tourism Package that would serve North East on a platter to the world outside instead of each state presenting itself separately.

He also pointed that flood protection and hydropower are subjects not exclusive to any one state. Therefore, he advised that all the states come together and work out a comprehensive region-specific plan for flood protection works and development of hydropower.

“Some subjects are not exclusive to any one state. These are to be resolved working together and NEDA can be the best platform for this,” he said adding that the central government is giving top priority to North East and is ever ready to help.


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