Keep North-East out of Citizenship Bill: CMs tell Amit Shah

Our Bureau/PTI New Delhi/Guwahati | Updated on September 09, 2019

CMs of the region warn Amit Shah of ‘demographic change’ if Bill is reintroduced

Chief Ministers of the North-Eastern States on Monday told Union Home Minister Amit Shah to exclude the North-East from the purview of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

At the fourth conclave of the North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) in Guwahati, Chief Ministers of Mizoram, Nagaland and Meghalaya stressed on keeping their States out of the purview of the contentious Bill, which seeks to give citizenship status to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis or Christians who have migrated to India from Bangladesh, Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga said that all political parties which had supported the contentious Bill are on the “verge of suicide”.

Amit Shah, who is on a visit to Guwahati, once again asserted that the Centre intends to expel all illegal immigrants not just from Assam but the entire country.

Shah reassured the North-Eastern States over the CAB and the Article 371, which grants special status to region. He tweeted: People are concerned over the Citizenship Bill and article 371. I want to make it clear that Article 370 was a temporary provision, whereas Article 371 is a special provision. It is the right of the North-East and no onecan take it away

Shah blames Congress

The Home Minister accused successive Congress governments of having alienated the region from the rest of the country. “Our intention is to expel illegal immigrants from the entire country and not just Assam,” he said.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga also insisted that the region be excluded from the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB). “If at all, it (CAB) has to be implemented, then please see if the North-East can be excluded from it. I request you to look into the vulnerability of the region,” he said.

“The Citizenship Bill is a very sensitive issue here. In most of the States where political parties supported it, they are on the verge of suicide,” he said.

The Mizoram Chief Minister said that he has full faith in the present dispensation at the Centre and believes that it will not take a decision that will adversely affect the interests of the region.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Konrad K Sangma said the entire North-East region will be “worst affected” by the CAB. “I fear that some people may migrate to Meghalaya once the Bill is enacted”, he said, adding that “thoughts regarding the Citizenship(Amendment) Bill need to be cleared”.

‘May affect other laws’

Sangma also said that he is worried as it may affect the Inner Line Permit (ILP) or other laws in the North-Eastern region.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said the “highly-controversial” CAB, if implemented, will change the demography of the North-East.

Strongly opposing the Bill in the presence of Amit Shah, Rio said all the North-Eastern states had resolved earlier that they would not let the legislation affect the region.

“We believe it will change the demography of the North-East. We need to understand the ground situation,” Rio said.

Published on September 09, 2019

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