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Nagaon (Assam), Jan 23 Protesters showed black flags to Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who said on Wednesday some people were spreading rumours that after the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, more Bangladeshis will be allowed to come into the state.
The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities -- Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Christians -- from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after they have stayed in India for seven years, instead of 12 years -- the current criteria. This is applicable to those who came to India before December 31, 2014.
The protesters showed black flags to Sarma while he was on his way to attend an official event.
"There isn't a single clause in the Bill that says more people will be brought in. An attempt is made to create unrest and divide Assam by spreading misinformation. Those who are opposing the Bill know nothing about it," he said.
The state does not need any such agitation which creates only regressive atmosphere, the senior BJP leader said.
"The Assam agitation, from 1979 to 1985, could not provide any solution to the issue. We need development for Assam to become one of the top five states in the country," he added.
The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8 and has been introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
Massive protests had erupted across Assam and other parts of the Northeast after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in Silchar on January 4 that the Bill would be passed as soon as possible in Parliament. TR RG GVS