CAB Talks: Northeast leaders meet Shah, stand on bill remains same, to oppose Bill

CAB Talks: Northeast leaders meet Shah, stand on bill remains same, to oppose Bill

SHILLONG/AGARTALA/GUWAHATI | Nov 30, 2019:

The delegations from Northeast India comprising of chief ministers of some northeastern states, civil societies and tribal leaders of the region on Saturday met Union Home Minister, Amit Shah and put forth their suggestions vis-a-vis the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).

The delegation from Meghalaya led by chief minister, Conrad K Sangma and comprising of various political parties, representatives of civil societies passed a resolution, the same of which was submitted to the home minister on Saturday.

The resolution read, "Whereas, the stakeholders comprising of the representatives of state government, political parties, autonomous district council, civil societies, met on Nov 29 and 30 at Delhi and have resolved to oppose the CAB 2019 in the state of Meghalaya."

In line with this, the delegation from Meghalaya has urged the home minister to accept the resolution in the interest of the people of Meghalaya.

Meghalaya Delegation

The Khasi Students' Union, a students' group in Meghalaya, has submitted a separate memorandum to the home minister, Amit Shah on Saturday, reiterating their stand on the Citizenship Amendment Bill while also apprising him on the impending threat to the survival of the indigenous communities if the bill is passed.

"We urged upon the Government of India not to impose this contentious Bill on the indigenous peoples of the North East… as it might be detrimental to the interest of the indigenous people of Meghalaya and the North East," said the KSU.

Meanwhile, the North East Social Organisation (NESO) stood firm by its decision to oppose the CAB and said that they stand for the entire Northeast and that they will continue to oppose the Citizenship Bill.

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While welcoming the preventive and protective measures offered by the Home Minister, the NESO, however, asserted that since 2016, they have been against CAB and even now, NESO is against the bill adding that these measures will not offer any permanent solution to the impending problems in future.

"The Home Minister has briefed us regarding the meetings with different states in which solutions were offered for different states in phase manner. But what we feel is that Northeast is a block and if certain states are left out, it would affect the entire region in the near future. As NESO, we are standing for the whole of Northeast and we are against CAB," said NESO Chairman, Samuel Jyrwa.

NESO members

Jyrwa informed that the organisation will take a final call on the future course of action after the third meeting with the home ministry and also after holding consultations with representatives from Naga Students' Federation (NSF), All Assam Students' Union (AASU) and also unions from Manipur.

Meanwhile, the delegation from Arunachal Pradesh led by chief minister Pema Khandu also comprising of union minister of state Incharge of sports, Kiren Rijiju and Lok Sabha MP, Tapir Gao has raised the concerns of the indigenous tribal communities of the State and conveyed that the State unequivocally opposes the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 subsequently marked as Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

The Chief Minister further appealed that special provision is required to protect the interests of indigenous tribal communities of the State which shall be in accordance with the strong public sentiments. He further said that strong protective measures need to be incorporated in the said Bill.

Arunachal Pradesh delegation

"For the State of Arunachal Pradesh, all provisions of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 (Regulation 5 of 1873) and all provisions of Sections 22, 23, 38 and 40 of the Chin Hills Regulation 1896 (Regulation No. 5 of 1896) shall be deemed to have been enacted under this Act and shall have effect accordingly; and that the provisions of this Act shall not be made applicable to any person who has been residing in or has entered or may enter the State of Arunachal Pradesh in violation of the Bengal East Frontier Regulation 1873 or the aforesaid provision of Chin Hills Regulations 1896 or the Criminal law Amendment Act, 1961 (Act No. 23 of 1961) as amended from time to time."

"Union Home Minister Amit Shah, after hearing all the stakeholders, assured that entire regime of Inner Line Permit (ILP) of Arunachal Pradesh, including applicable provisions of Bengal East Frontier Regulation 1873 and the Chin Hills Regulations 1896, will be suitably incorporated in the proposed CAB," read the statement.

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Shah further assured team Arunachal led by Pema Khandu, that there will be zero impact to the State of Arunachal Pradesh, to ensure the interest of indigenous people of Arunachal Pradesh while assuring that the Government of India will consider all the concerns raised by them in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to protect the interests of all the Arunachalees.

On the other hand, the team from Tripura led by royal scion, Pradyot Manikya Deb Barman submitted a memorandum to the Home Minister on November 29 expressing opposition to the bill in its current form while seeking a draft of the amended CAB before it is tabled in the Parliament so that they can share their views on the same.

The delegation is of the view that a committee should be formed under the home ministry with representation from all stakeholders from the indigenous communities rather than one political party, to seek inputs on social, economic and political existence of the indigenous people.

Tripura delegation

They are also of the view that representation of the indigenous people in both the assembly as well as the TTADC should be increased considering the sacrifice made by the people over the last 70 years. Furthermore, they impressed on the need to rehabilitate the Reang Community, which is living in relief camps over the last 22 years, in clusters with the same packages offered to Mizoram within the state of Tripura.

"It is important to mention that none of the agreements starting from the instrument of accession to other accords signed by the Government-state /Centre has been properly honoured and implemented. There is a deep sense of betrayal by our family as well as the people of Tripura and this needs to be revisited," said the royal scion.

Deb Barman also pointed out that the Schedule VI of the Constitution of India has been rendered "completely infructuous" in the state and needs legal and constitutional strengthening. "Hence the socio-cultural economic political right should be protected and the home ministry should invite all stake holders and not just one indigenous party to discuss the matter," read the memo.

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