Centre won’t touch Article 371; promises Home Minister Amit Shah

Straightline News Network

GUWAHATI, Sept 8: Clarifying the difference between Articles 370 and 371, Union Home Minister Amit Shah today made it clear that the Centre will not touch Article 371 of the Indian Constitution that is applicable to the Northeast and said that not a single illegal immigrant would be allowed.

“After abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, there were attempts to misinform and misguide the people of the Northeast that Article 371 would also be scrapped by the Centre. I have clarified in Parliament that this is not going to happen and I am saying it again today in the presence of eight Chief Ministers of the Northeast that both the Articles are different and the Centre will not touch Article 371,” he said while addressing 68th plenary session of the North East Council (NEC) here today.

While elaborating, the Home Minister explained that the Constituent Assembly had framed Article 370 as a temporary provision whereas Article 371 is about special provisions in the Northeast and there is a vast difference between the two. “I think it is important to clarify the difference between the two. Let me make it clear that the Prime Minister and the BJP Government respects Article 371 and 371 (A),” he added.

Most of the States that have been accorded special provisions under Article 371 are in the Northeast and the special status aims to preserve their tribal culture. “There was an attempt to give a wrong message that the BJP-led Government would scrap Article 371 and this was done by people who did not want peace in the Northeast or the region to become an engine of development, “ Shah said.

On the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the Home Minister said, “Questions are being raised about the NRC by different sections but today I just want to say this that the BJP-led Government is committed to ensure that not a single illegal immigrant enters the region.”

Pointing out that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there has been a “drastic decline” in terrorism and militant activities, Shah said, “I do not want to quote statistics but the entire country and the world knows that we have been able to control it.”

“There are still misguided people who indulge in armed activities but our minds are open and hands stretched for those who want to lay down arms. For those who want to continue, the Governments at the Centre and the State will follow a zero-tolerance policy,” he said and added that the misguided people who take up arms are our own but are tools in the hands of vested foreign forces.