After Mizoram, another state unit of the BJP in the northeast has urged the ruling party to step back on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The Meghalaya BJP has written to the central leadership to exempt all northeastern states from the purview of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The Bill has already been passed in the Lok Sabha.
While general secretary of Meghalaya BJP Bashailang Khongwir said the party wishes to pass the Bill on humanitarian grounds, he also stated that the issue is sentimental to the people of the state and the region as a whole.
He added that the Bill for a multi-cultural country like India validates the phrase, "One man's food is another man's poison".
Last month, the BJP in Mizoram had requested the centre to not go ahead with the Bill after its passage in Lok Sabha on January 8.
"The impulse of the Bill is contrary to the people of northeast India. It is a sentimental issue in Northeast and misconception about the bill has reached such a point where no ground of justification can bring reconciliation over the Bill," the letter said.
Leaders of North East Students' Organisation, which is spearheading the protest against the Bill across the northeastern states, urged Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, leaders of Biju Janata Dal, Janata Dal United and other regional political parties from the northeast to vote against the Bill if tabled in the Rajya Sabha.
Meanwhile, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has assured that he would discuss the Bill with other political parties and civil society groups in the northeast.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to grant Indian citizenship to the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who fled religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan and entered India before December 31, 2014, after six years of residence in the country, instead of the current 12 years, even if they do not have any proper documents.