11 northeastern political parties oppose Citizenship Bill

Guwahati: Eleven northeastern political parties came together here on Tuesday against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and decided to appeal to the Central government to scrap the legislation.

The parties from seven states excluding Sikkim participated in a two-day convention and unanimously decided to oppose the Bill that seeks to grant citizenship to migrants from six non-Muslim minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, the convener of the convention, said the parties will send a delegation to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind seeking to scrap the Bill passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8.

“We have decided to jointly oppose the Bill which will endanger the lives and identity of the indigenous people,” he said.

Asked if the parties will come out of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led North East Democratic Alliance, Sangma told the media that the convention was not a political one but it was for the concerns of the people of the region.

“I hope the government will also understand the sentiments of the people of the region over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016,” Sangma said.

The Chief Minister said that if the Centre does not pay heed to their demand, the parties would meet again to decide on a future course of action.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga echoed Sangma’s remarks saying that if the Bill was passed, it would be “dangerous and harmful for us”.

“We all need to think together on steps to oppose it.”