Take Northeast into confidence on Citizenship Bill: Meghalaya CM to Amit Shah
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Monday told Union Home Minster Amit Shah that the Northeast has fears on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and urged him to take all the States of the region into confidence before bringing in the legislation again.Addressing the fourth conclave of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) here in the presence of Mr. Shah, Mr. Sangma questioned whether the Centre will bypass discussions with the States before reintroducing the Bill.“What will happen after CAB? Will people continuously come from Bangladesh? Will there be any deadline or a continuous flow? We in Northeast have such fears,” Mr. Sangma said.He requested the Centre to invite all stakeholders to discuss and arrive at a consensus over the issue.“We are under the sixth schedule. So will the CAB overlook local laws? Please invite us and look into the interests of the people of the Northeast. Remove our fears. I believe you (Shah) will take care of our fears,” Mr. Sangma told the Union Home Minister.The Bill provided for according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after seven years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document.The Lok Sabha had passed the Bill on January 8 but it was not tabled in the Rajya Sabha.Parties supporting Bill on verge of suicide: Mizoram CMMizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga said that all political parties that supported the contentious Bill are on the “verge of suicide“.Mr. Zoramthanga, who was addressing the fourth NEDA conclave here, however, did not elaborate his “verge of suicide” comment.“If at all, it (the Bill) has to be implemented, then please see if the Northeast can be excluded from it. I request you to look into the vulnerability of the region.“The Citizenship Bill is a very 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, he has full faith in the present dispensation at the Centre and he believes that it will not take a decision that will adversely affect the interests of the region.Bill will change demography of Northeast: Nagaland CMStrongly opposing the Bill, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said all the Northeastern 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,” Mr. Rio said.He hoped that Mr. Shah and the Centre would “listen to us“.Mr. Rio also said that the negotiations on the Naga Peace accord were at an advanced stage.“We are hopeful of a solution very soon. We have also formed a joint legislation group,” he added. Mr. Rio also sought support of all the States of the region to amicably settle the Nagaland issue as it was the “mother of all issues in the Northeast”.