HM Amit Shah Iterates CITIZENSHIP (Amendment) Bill Will Be Tabled Afresh In Parliament
Home Minister Amit Shah during his first visit to Assam post publication of the revised National Register of Citizens (NRC) has allayed apprehension of the states in the region about the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. After making it public that the Government will not touch Article 371 giving special status to NE, Amit Shah said CAB has not been buried. On Monday, he addressed a conclave of the North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), an ally of BJP led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), at Guwahati affirming that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill has not been buried forever. It will be tabled afresh in Parliament for enactment as a legislation. Christian majority Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram had expressed serious concerns over the possible demographic changes that could affect their States due to CAB’s implementation, reports The Pioneer News Service. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 15, 2016, seeks to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 to provide citizenship to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parses and Christians from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. The Bill also reduces the requirement of 11 years of continuous stay in the country to six years to obtain citizenship by naturalization. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8 but could not be tabled in the Upper House on account of resistance from all major Opposition Congress, TMC, JDU and also BJP NE allies including AASU and AGP. There was violent protest against the bill before Lok Sabha elections in Assam. Speaking at the NEDA meeting, attended by all the Chief Ministers of the N-E States HM Shah said the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will be brought again but sought to pacify the N-E States insisting special laws specific to the N-E region will not be touched. Shah was responding to concerns voiced by the CMs Conrad Sangma of Meghalaya, Neiphiu Rio of Nagaland and Mizoram’s Zoramthanga, who raised their apprehension that the Bill may impact the demography of the N-E States with migrants from foreign countries accorded citizenship. Sangma urged Shah to take all the States of the region into confidence before bringing in the Bill again. People continuously come from Bangladesh to the region impacting its socio-economy ecology, he added. We in Northeast have such fears,” Sangma said. “We will ensure that existing laws of all States of the region remain as they are even after the introduction of the CAB. We have no intention to touch any of these laws applicable to different States of the region,” Shah told NEDA. He also asserted that the cut-off date for CAB will remain December 31, 2014. Meanwhile, RSS has expressed concern over leaving out of a large number of Hindus from the NRC.At its just concluded three-day annual coordination meeting, first such meeting after the Lok Sabha elections held at Rajasthan’s Puskar.It was attended by over 200 delegates from 35 of its affiliates. A detailed briefing was held by RSS affiliate ‘Seema Jagran Manch’ on the final list of the NRC published on August 31 that left out over 1.9 million people.BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, who is also the party’s in-charge for the northeastern states, briefed the meeting about the NRC exercise and the finalized NRC list. Addressing the press conference here on the final day of the coordination meeting, RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale described the NRC as a “complicated and a complex issue” as names of many Bangladeshi illegal immigrants are in voters list. The abrogation of Article 370, the demand for a nationwide NRC, speedy decision on Ayodhya land dispute case and issues related to the national security dominated the deliberation at the meet.RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, BJP working president JP Nadda, General Secretary (Organization) BL Santhosh, RSS ,General Secretary, Suresh Bhaiyaji Joshi and Joint General Secretary Krishna Gopal also attended the meeting. It is also alleged that several thousand indigenous people have been excluded from the NRC updated under the monitoring of the Supreme Court of India. The government says there are hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants in Assam from neighboring Muslim-majority Bangladesh, but Bangladesh has declined to shelter or take back a single one of them complicating the issue related to undocumented people.