Amit Shah Meets Northeast Leaders Over Citizenship Amendment Bill

The Chief Ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, Union minister Kiren Rijiju and several MPs attended the meeting.

Amit Shah Meets Northeast Leaders Over Citizenship Amendment Bill

Amit Shah held talks with leaders of several political parties.

New Delhi:

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday held talks with leaders of political parties, students bodies and civil society groups from Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya over the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill.

The Chief Ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya Sarbananda Sonowal, Pema Khandu and Conrad Sangma, Union minister Kiren Rijiju and several MPs attended the meeting

Sarbananda Sonowal said the talks will help remove all apprehensions about Citizenship Amendment Bill.

"This is a very honest and democratic approach, taking people from all section of the Northeast. I am sure those who have attended the meetings with the home minister felt assured of the centre's commitments towards the region," he told news agency PTI.

Most regional parties and civil society groups raised concerns over how the Citizenship Amendment Bill could affect the tribals.

Sources said that Amit Shah has indicated that the Citizenship Amendment Bill may not affect the tribal areas protected by the Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime and those governed under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

Later, Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said even though most of the civil society groups have opposed the earlier bill, the new redrafted bill will ensure that the interests of the ILP-regime areas and the Sixth Schedule areas are protected.

The Assam-based political party AIUDF, headed by Maulana Badruddin Ajmal, has opposed the bill, which aims to give citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from three neighbouring countries.

The bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, in order to grant Indian nationality to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who come to India due to religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan even if they don''t possess proper documents.

Former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki said they opposed the 2016 bill but if the new bill excludes the ILP-regime states, it can be considered.

President of the All Bodo Students Union Pramod Boro said they have conveyed to the home minister that they opposed the CAB as it does not provide any safeguard to the tribal areas.

"We want constitutional safeguards to the indigenous people," he said.

The home minister is holding the meetings on Friday, Saturday and on December 3 in the wake of strong protests in the Northeast against the CAB.

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