Union Home Minister Amit Shah is holding a series of meetings over two days with various groups, including politicians from the Northeast, on the Citizenship Amendment Bill that is expected to be introduced in the ongoing Parliament session.
The Bill, though it is mentioned in the list of business to be transacted this session, is yet to get a Cabinet nod.
Beginning Friday night, Mr. Shah will be meeting Chief Ministers of Northeastern States and leaders of socio-cultural bodies, students’ organisations and political parties from the region. The student groups include North-East Students’ Organisation, All-Bodo Students’ Union and student bodies from Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. The meetings with the Chief Ministers will be held on Saturday, an official said.
Northeast States have erupted in protests against the Bill that seeks to grant citizenship to undocumented non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who came to India on or before December 31, 2014. A large section of the people and organisations in the Northeast say it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants, irrespective of religion.
Congress, Trinamool Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and a few other political parties have also opposed the Bill.
Twelve MPs from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding exclusion of the Northeastern States from the purview of the proposed Bill, saying the tribal population of the region would be vulnerable to displacement if it came into effect.
The Bill was passed by the previous Lok Sabha, but lapsed as it could not be introduced in the Rajya Sabha and the lower house was dissolved.