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Will leave politics if a single person over five lakh is given citizenship in Assam: Sarma

GUWAHATI: Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said he will leave politics if a single person over five lakh is given citizenship in the state.

Referring to the “rising” Muslim population, he said, “Ajmal or his son or his grandson will be the Assam chief minister after 30 years and no one can stop it.”

Speaking in support of granting citizenship to Hindus, Sarma, who is also the chief of NEDA, BJP’s version of the NDA in the northeast, said a Hindu “cannot be a Jinnah as he never attacks anyone” and is secular.

The minister was speaking during the debate on the governor’s address in the one-day special session of Assam Assembly.

He said the amended citizenship law will not violate the Assam Accord.

“I’ll leave politics if one person more than five lakh is given citizenship. If a single person is added beyond five lakh, the Assam government will take responsibility,” the finance minister said.

He also supported granting of citizenship to Hindu Bengalis, which is being vehemently protested against by various outfits.

“A Hindu cannot be a Jinnah. Not a single Hindu king has destroyed a mosque or a temple. A Hindu is always secular and does not attack anyone,” Sarma said.

“In Assam Accord, many things were left unresolved. We haven’t violated the Assam Accord, but are addressing unresolved issues,” he added.

The historic Accord, which was signed after the six-year-long Assam Agitation, was a four-page document that did not include many things, Sarma claimed.

The minister advocated the formation of an assembly committee to study the Assam Accord in detail to find out its deficiencies and unresolved issues.

“Even the NRC was not part of the Assam Accord. It was evolved in a meeting between the AASU, Assam government and the Centre in 2005. The Assam Accord didn’t speak about children of those coming before 1971, so it’s inconclusive,” he added.

The Citizenship Act was amended in 1987, 1993 and 2003; and the spirit of the Accord was touched many times earlier than the CAA this time, the minister said.

“The Assam Accord is not that bad. If we had read it properly, 1966 would have been the cut off year and 1967 voter list would have been the NRC. I regret that,” he claimed, citing the Clause 5 of the pact.

He alleged that the ongoing agitation against the CAA is driven by misinformation that over one crore Hindu Bangladeshis will enter Assam.

“Who is this Pramanik in Bangladesh saying 2.5 crore people will come to Assam? Is there a conspiracy to destabilise Assam? There are many Islamic fundamentals working to destabilise Assam,” Sarma claimed.

He stressed that Hindu Bengalis will not affect the culture of Assam as there are many examples of Assamese marrying Bengalis.

“Assamese nationalism cannot be based on language. It’ll be on the love for the land. For example, we don’t speak Missing language but they are part of Assamese nationalism. The theory that Hindu Bengalis will destroy Assamese culture is wrong,” the minister added.