GUWAHATI, Sept 9 - Union Home Minister and BJP�s national president Amit Shah today said that the Central government is committed to expelling all illegal immigrants not only from Assam but from the entire country.
�I want to assure you all that illegal immigrants will not be allowed to stay not only in Assam but also in any other state. Our intention is to expel illegal immigrants from the entire country and not just Assam,� Shah said, while addressing the 4th conclave of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
Regarding apprehensions in some NE states regarding the future of Article 371, Shah made it clear that there is no reason to worry. While Article 370 was temporary in character, Article 371 is a special provision, he said.
Shah stated that provisions under Article 371 and other special laws applicable in the northeastern states, like those dealing with the Sixth Schedule, will remain intact even if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is passed.
To concerns raised regarding the Bill by some leaders of the North East, including Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, the Union Home Minister said that the Central government�s duty is to address such issues. He said successive Congress governments �sowed the seeds of strife� in the North East and kept the region backward and underdeveloped.
�Congress did not allow the North East to develop. It encouraged corruption... It created alienation and incited conflict. So, an alternative was needed to ensure that the North East is able to develop to its full potential.�
�Today I am happy that in all eight states of the North East, we have governments headed by NEDA constituents and the North East has really become Congress-mukt,� Shah said.
He said that BJP has given full respect to the other constituents of the NEDA.
Shah said that 19 out of the 15 Lok Sabha seats from the North East are with constituents of the NEDA and the platform also has six of the 14 Rajya Sabha seats from the region.
With four per cent of the country�s total population and eight per cent of India�s landmass, besides 26 per cent of its total forest cover, the North East has a lot of potential, he said.
�Prime Minister Narendra Modi has termed the North East as the �new engine of India�s growth,� he said.
The Home Minister said that within the next 10 years, the northeastern region will become a major hub for business and commerce.
The State governments of this region must step up efforts to make the North East totally free of corruption within the next five years, Shah said, adding steps have been taken to curb drug trafficking, arms smuggling and human trafficking through the international border in this region.
�In the coming days, NEDA must take up some new initiatives,� Shah said.
He called upon the northeastern states to promote joint tourism packages for domestic and international tourists and fix a joint budget for such schemes.
He also called upon all the states to formulate a joint strategy for flood control and hydropower generation.
�The northeastern region must make full use of the fact that NEDA governments are now in power in all the states,� Shah said, while calling upon the states to take measures for resolving inter-state boundary disputes.