As the Centre plans to table the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in parliament during the ongoing winter session in the coming days, opposition MPs have asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to exempt residents of northeast states from its ambit.
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 after facing religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, without proper documents.
Members of Parliament from Assam, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland have shot off a letter to the PM saying that if the CAB is implemented across the region, it will leave the indigenous and tribal population vulnerable to displacement.
"We as members of parliament representing the indigenous tribes of NE region would like to express our strong objection to the passing and implementation of CAB in our region," the letter says.
The MPs said that civil society organisations of the region are also opposing the Bill.
"We collectively believe if such a bill is implemented uniformly across the nation will particularly render the indegeneous and tribal population of the north east vulnerable to displacement therefore we urge you to include within this bill a provision which exempts from its ambit the residents of the north eastern states of Arunachal, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim," the MPs said in the letter sent to PM Modi today.
During the visit of the members of standing committee in the 16th Lok Sabha to the northeastern states, the people also expressed their views which are in line with these demands, the MPs said in the letter.
"Request you to look into the matter seriously and address our concerns at the earliest," they told the PM.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah is holding a series of meetings with chief ministers, political leaders and civil society members beginning today and discussing with them issues related to the Bill.
"Even leaders of socio-cultural bodies, students organisations and political parties belonging to the northeastern states are meeting officials of the ministry in batches," a senior official said.
Earlier this week, heads of intelligence agencies of northeastern states and paramilitary officials held a meeting under deputy national security advisor Dattatray Padsalgikar where they talked about the recent protests in Assam. They said if the protests in other parts of northeastern states are contained, they will die down in Assam too.