GUWAHATI, Jan 14 (IANS): Assam has borne a disproportionate burden of migration due to religious persecution in the neighbouring countries, Home Minister Rajnath Singh told Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
The Home Minister also assured Sonowal of convening a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the concerned states to discuss the safeguards that need to be provided for protecting the interests of these states.
"The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 is not meant for the individuals belonging to six minorities who have come from one particular country. It is also not meant for individuals who are living in one particular state," Singh said during a recent meeting with Sonowal and Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
In the meeting, some of the leaders from the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) including its Chief Executive Member (CEM) Hagrama Mohilary were also present.
"It is a fact Assam has borne the disproportionate burden of migration due to religious persecution in our neighbouring countries. Assam should not bear this burden alone. It is the responsibility of the entire country and the burden should also be shared by the entire country," the Home Minister said.
"We are committed to helping the persons belonging to six minority communities, who have been compelled to come to India because of religious persecution in the three neighbouring countries. Those who qualify for citizenship under the amended Citizenship Act would be free to reside and settle in any state," he said in a statement issued on Monday.
Singh also termed the High Powered Committee on the implementation of Clause 6 as a historic opportunity and said that the action taken by the Government to set up this High Level Committee is a landmark step in the direction of preserving the cultural and linguistic identity of Assam.
"This committee has a very broad mandate. All those, who have the interest of Assam and the Assamese people in their hearts, to take advantage of this historic opportunity," he said.
The Home Minister said the decision to grant tribal status to six communities should also be seen in the same spirit.
He assured the Bodo leaders that this decision will be implemented only after ensuring that the political and employment related privileges and rights of the existing tribes in Assam are fully protected.