R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, April 24 - Even if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) is passed, a person will have to go through a long process of verification at various levels to get Indian citizenship, said Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. He also said that after the election process is over, the State Government would concentrate on proper implementation of all the schemes announced in the State Budget.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Sonowal assured that if voted to power, the BJP would bring the Bill only after a detailed consultation with all the stakeholders. He said that the Bill would be moved after allying the apprehensions in the minds of the indigenous people of Assam and other states of the North East.
Sonowal said that any person applying for Indian citizenship would have to go through a detailed process of verification at various levels. The person applying for Indian citizenship in the first step would have to do so before the Deputy Commissioner of the concerned district. The Deputy Commissioner will carry out verification of the years of stay of the person concerned in a particular area of the state. If the Deputy Commissioner is satisfied that the person has been staying in the same place for a long time, the proposal will be forwarded to the State Government. The Government will verify the same through agencies like the Special Branch of the Assam Police before forwarding the case to the Central Government. The Central Government, through its agencies, will verify whether the person really came to India because of religious persecution in his or her own country and whether any such incident of religious persecution took place in that country at the time when the person crossed over. “It is not that anyone who applies for Indian citizenship merely claiming that he or she crossed over due to religious persecution would get Indian citizenship,” Sonowal asserted.
The Chief Minister also said that it would not be possible for any person, who applied for inclusion of names in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) claiming to be an Indian citizen to apply for citizenship claiming himself to be a foreigner who came due to religious persecution.
Meanwhile, Sonowal claimed that he is confident of the BJP led alliance doing well in the polls and said that the Bill was not a major issue among the voters. He said that transfer of votes of the AGP took place at the ground level. He claimed that the fact that the AIUDF fielded candidates only in three constituencies of the State would not affect the BJP led alliance much as people have seen development on the ground. He said that while formulating schemes for the welfare of various sections of people, the socio economic-caste census conducted by the Congress Government was used and “we did not change the census list to leave out any community.” He asserted that after the poll process is over, the Government would dedicate the year as the year of implementation of project to ensure that the projects announced in this year’s budget are implemented before the presentation of the next budget.