New Delhi, January 18: With controversy over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 gaining momentum in the north-eastern region of the country, two chief ministers from the region met Home Minister Rajnath Singh with a request to scrap the 64-year-old controversial bill. Mizoram's new Chief Minister Zoramthanga and Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma met the Union Minister with their request in the national capital.
Confirming the details of the meeting, Sangma said, as reported by NDTV, “We have expressed our concerns over the bill. All coalition partners from Meghalaya are against the amendment. We have urged the centre to reconsider its decision and not to go forward with the Bill.” Protests Continue in Assam Against Citizenship Bill.
The minister further added that even the Meghalaya cabinet had passed a resolution opposing the bill, as people of the northeastern states are unhappy. Sangma said that Home Minister has assured to look into the matter and would call for a meeting with the state chiefs to discuss the aspects related with the bill.
Sharing a similar opinion, newly elected Chief Minister Zoramthanga said that the bill should remain the way it is and there should not be any amendments. He said, “It (amendments) should not be there. Let it be as it is. Let it not be amended as it is proposed. That's what we want.”
Earlier, the coalition government in Manipur, under the leadership of Chief Minister N Biren Singh, had clearly stated his government would not support the Centre on the amendment in the Citizenship Bill, unless there is a provision for protecting the indigenous people of the northeast is included.
Even BJP’s ally in Assam – Asom Gana Parishad's (AGP) – broke the alliance on the Citizenship Bill issue, stating that the amendments are ‘discriminatory’ and against the welfare of northeast people.
However, BJP's troubleshooter and general secretary Ram Madhav while reacting to the sudden development stated, “We're reaching out to our alliance partners who have expressed concerns over the bill, we'll reassure them that interests of each and every state will be taken care of. We're confident that those who have left will come back.”
According to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, passed in Lok Sabha on January 8, recommends granting Indian citizenship to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan who entered India before December 31, 2014. In the Citizenship Act, 1955, however, it is not present.