All coalition partners from Meghalaya are against the Citizenship Bill, said Conrad Sangma.
As the northeast stands united against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, two chief ministers from the region met Home Minister Rajnath Singh today to urge the centre to scrap the controversial bill. Conrad Sangma, who is heading the government in Meghalaya in alliance with the BJP, and Mizoram’s new Chief Minister Zoramthanga said there should not be any dilution of the 64-year-old Citizenship Act.
“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,” Mr Sangma said.
All northeastern states are unhappy, and the Meghalaya cabinet has even passed a resolution opposing the bill, he added.
“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,” Mr Zoramthanga told reporters.
Mr Sangma said that the Home Minister has assured them that he will look into it and that he will also call a meeting with all chief ministers from the northeast.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has already made it clear that the coalition government in the state led by the BJP will not support the passage of the Bill unless there is a provision for protecting the indigenous people of the northeast.
Several allies of the BJP have also made their opposition to the “discriminatory” bill known to the ruling party, but it maintained that the “bill is not any state or region specific, it is for the entire country”.
“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,” BJP’s troubleshooter and general secretary Ram Madhav, said referring to the Asom Gana Parishad’s (AGP) exit from the NDA over the bill.
Even though Mr Madhav accepted that some of the concerns are valid, he accused those opposing the bill of spreading misinformation.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which has triggered massive protests in the northeastern states, was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8. The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to grant Indian citizenship to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan who entered India before December 31, 2014.