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NE CMs want CAB scrapped

NE CMs want CAB scrapped
Rajnath Singh chairs a meeting with chief ministers of Meghalaya and Mizoram Conrad Sangma and Zoramthanga respectively, in New Delhi, Friday.
Correspondent/Agencies NEW DELHI, JAN 18 | Publish Date: 1/18/2019 11:50:30 AM IST

As the North East stands united against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) 2016, two chief ministers from the region met Home Minister Rajnath Singh Friday to urge the centre to scrap the controversial bill. 

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K. Sangma Friday urged Rajnath Singh to reconsider the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 which was passed in the Lok Sabha.

The Bill which aims to remove hurdles for eligible migrants of six minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan from getting Indian citizenship, is expected to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha during Parliament’s upcoming Budget Session as members of the opposition strongly opposed it.

“We have expressed our concerns about the Citizenship Amendment Bill. All the coalition partners of the Meghalaya government and Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga too have expressed dissatisfaction over the Bill. Therefore, we have asked the government to reconsider the Bill. We are hopeful that the government will reconsider and think about this,” Sangma said.

“The Home Minister have told us that he will definitely look into the matter and will soon call for a meeting with chief ministers of the North Eastern states for a detailed consultation on this issue,” he added.

Asked what will be his ultimate decision if the government goes ahead with the Bill, Sangma said, “We will take a call as I said when the time comes. We are still in a discussion with them. I don’t think it is correct time to comment on that.”

Sangma has also called on all counterparts in the North Eastern states to come together and express their concerns on the Bill and stand in unity before the central leadership for the welfare of the entire region.

Conrad Sangma and Mizoram’s new chief minister Zoramthanga said there should not be any dilution of the 64-year-old Citizenship Act. “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,” Zoramthanga told reporters.

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 Madhav accepted that some of the concerns are valid, he accused those opposing the bill of spreading misinformation.

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