Other States

Northeast groups to protest against govt's bid to reintroduce Citizenship Bill

File image: MPs from north-eastern States during a demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Bill at the Parliament House in New Delhi on February 6, 2019.

File image: MPs from north-eastern States during a demonstration against the Citizenship Amendment Bill at the Parliament House in New Delhi on February 6, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

Proposed legislation is perceived to be a demographic threat to indigenous communities, some of whom number less than 1,000

Non-Governmental Organisations across the northeastern States have lined up protest programmes against the Narendra Modi government’s bid to reintroduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

Assam Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said a few days ago that the Centre would reintroduce the Bill in Parliament in November.

The proposed legislation was cleared by the Lok Sabha in January but not tabled in the Rajya Sabha.

The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 and grant citizenship to people from minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of stay in India even if they do not possess any proper document. The current requirement is 12 years of stay.

In Nagaland capital Kohima, the North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP) has scheduled a ‘public protest’ on October 3 to mark the beginning of the campaign against the Bill perceived to be a demographic threat to indigenous communities, some of whom number less than 1,000.

NEFIP president Ningthouja Lancha said the organisation had asked all the Legislative Assemblies of the eight north-eastern States to adopt a resolution against the Bill and urge the Centre to take necessary steps to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The NEFIP is a conglomerate of 250 social organisations in the northeast.

Student organisations Mizo Zirlai Pawl, Khasi Students’ Union and All Manipur Students’ Union have pledged support to the protests.

In Assam, the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti has sought a united protest by the State’s indigenous organisations against any attempt to pass the Bill. “We will not accept the Bill under any circumstances. It poses a huge threat, which will affect the spirit of democracy. We cannot let this kind of Bill destroy our society,” its leader Akhil Gogoi said.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 1:50:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/northeast-groups-to-protest-against-citizenship-bill/article29528463.ece

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