Khandu joins Conrad, Zoramthanga and Biren Singh in opposing CAB
NEW DELHI/ GUWAHATI/SHILLONG, Feb 11: With just a day left for introduction of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in the Rajya sabha, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu joined hands with Meghalaya, Manipur and Mizoram counterparts to voice his opposition to the controversial Bill.
Khandu, who had been defending the Bill till now on Monday met Union home minister Rajnath Singh along with Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh at the national capital and apprised him about the prevailing situation in their respective states in particular and Northeast in whole following the passing of the Bill in Lok Sabha on January 8 last.
“As there is lot of hue and cry in the Northeast regarding the passing of the Bill, we requested the union minister not to pass it,” Khandu said.
During a 30-minute meeting, the two BJP CMs apprised the home minister about the prevailing situation in the Northeast, which has been witnessing continuous protests against the Bill that seeks to provide Indian nationality to non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The two chief ministers requested the home minister not to pass the Citizenship Bill before convincing the people of the Northeast and sought protection of their cultural and linguistic identity, an official said.
The Union minister asked the chief ministers not to worry and assured that the rights of the indigenous people of the Northeast would not be diluted, the official said.
Meanwhile, the All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU) has welcomed the stand taken by Khandu.
“The AAPSU terms the development as ‘historic’ in many ways and hopes that the Central Government will take cognizance of the grievances put forth by the chief minister,” Tobom Dai the general secretary of the union said.
Conrad flies to national capital to halt CAB in RS
Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma has gone to New Delhi to seek support of various political parties in opposing the Citizenship Bill, which is likely to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
“I am leaving for New Delhi to meet leaders of those political parties who have promised us of their support… to oppose the Bill if it is tabled in the Rajya Sabha,” Sangma said before going to the national capital.
He said that the national general body meeting of his National People’s Party (NPP) on Saturday had resolved to snap ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, if the Bill is tabled in the Rajya Sabha.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to remove hurdles for eligible migrants from six minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan in getting Indian citizenship.
“I have impressed upon the Central government about the northeast’s people opposing the Bill. The party cannot go against the wishes of the people. Moreover, the citizenship bill, once it becomes a law, will change the demography of the region and ethnic communities in the region will be reduced to a minorities,” Sangma said.
He and his Mizoram counterpart Zoramthanga had earlier met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to express their opposition to the Bill.
Sangma’s NPP, along with other northeast-based regional parties including the Asom Gana Parishad – which had already severed ties with the BJP in Assam – had sought support of several political parties to prevent passage of the Bill in the Rajya Sabha.
Sangma had earlier hinted at snapping ties with the BJP if the latter goes ahead with the Bill. The NPP is supporting the BJP-led government in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh and the People’s Democratic Alliance government in Nagaland and has the BJP’s support in Meghalaya.
Cong in talks with anti-BJP parties to defeat CAB in RS
Meanwhile, Opposition in Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia informed here that the Congress is talking to other anti-BJP parties to defeat the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 if it is introduced in Rajya Sabha.
“We are talking to other parties to defeat it if brought in the Upper House,” Saikia said addressing a press conference at Assam Legislative Assembly complex here.
“If the contentious bill is passed, it will not only affect Assam and Northeast, but will have negative impact on the entire country. Except BJP, all other parties are opposing because it is anti-Constitution. Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal had earlier said that he would work only for the people of the state. Now he is working only for his personal gains,” Saikia said.
He also opined that if the Bill is enacted, then the Hindus living in neighbouring countries like Bangladesh are likely to be “subjected with religious persecution”.
Saikia also regretted that the Assam Assembly speaker did not allow a discussion on the Bill before the Parliament session is ending.
“Considering its importance, we requested a special session on the Bill. But due to the influence of the government, the request of Congress, AIUDF and AGP were not accepted,” the senior Congress leader said. (With PTI inputs)