Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday refuted reports doing rounds in the media that it has asked the Assam government to take action against editors opposing the Citizenship Bill.
The Ministry, in its clarification, said such reports are “an absolutely baseless and a mischievous interpretation of the fact”.
“This is to clarify that Union Home Ministry has not asked the state government of Assam to initiate any enquiry against any editor or any member of the press/media. It is mischievous to suggest that central government has asked Government of Assam to initiate action against any editor or any media person in Assam. It is reiterated that it is standard practice to forward every petition received on Centralised Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) to the Ministry/state government concerned,” the statement by the MHA said.
The MHA further explained, “The factual position is that one Vinay Joshi with the address of Ratnagiri, Maharashtra sent a public grievance petition to the MHA on the CPGRAMS on February 14, 2019 related the issue of Citizenship Amendment Bill- 2016 stating that the issue has been exploited by different militant groups like ULFA and the media has propagated militant ideology to give fresh boost to the militant groups.”
The MHA said that a very large number of such petitions or grievances on a host of issues are received in the Ministry on a daily basis on the CPGRAMS. “The annual figure being 33,000 for the year 2018. Every such petition is routinely forwarded to the Ministries/States concerned,” the Ministry informed.
It went on to clarify that no report has been called from the Government of Assam in the matter.
“Following this standard practice, the petition of Vinay Joshi was routinely forwarded to Government of Assam. No enquiry of any kind has been ordered by the Ministry. No report has been called from the Government of Assam in the matter,” it added.
The Citizenship Bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to provide citizenship to minorities including Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31, 2014.
Attempts by the central government to pass it through the Rajya Sabha were stalled by the Opposition.
Under the proposed amendments in the Bill, the minimum residency period for citizenship was being reduced from the existing 12 years under the present law to 7 years.
However, citizenship was supposed to be given to them only after due scrutiny and on the recommendation of district authorities and the state government.
Several organisations had staged massive protests over the Bill, asserting that the legislation will create law and order problems in the North East.