New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary Ram Madhav on Tuesday assured people of the Northeast that Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is not going to cause any difficulty to their identity. His statement came at a time when the bill is expected to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha. Also Read - EC Curtails Campaign Timing Up To 7 PM, Extends Silence Period As COVID Cases Soar In Bengal
Talking to news agency ANI, he said, “We want to reassure the people of the North-east that this bill is not going to cause any difficulty to their culture, language, identity or interest. Any such situation will be tackled by us.” Also Read - Mamata Banerjee Urges EC To Merge Remaining Phases of Bengal Polls Into One Amid COVID Cases Surge
The N-E region is on the boil over the issue, more so after the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha. Section-144 has been imposed in Imphal East District of Manipur until further orders due to “situation arising out of intense agitation launched by various Civil Society Organisations against the passing of Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016, in the Lok Sabha.” Internet services have also been suspended in wake of protests.
On Monday, Bhupen Hazarika’s son Tej Hazarika had said that he does not reject the country’s highest civilian honour but is unhappy how the NDA government plans to pass the “painfully unpopular” Citizenship bill which was against his father’s beliefs and position.
In Mizoram, security has been tightened for the ‘Black Day’ protests under the NGO Coordination Committee – the umbrella organisation of major civil societies and students’ bodies.
Its leaders have warned that the stir would intensify if the Rajya Sabha also passed the bill. Indigenous people of the region are afraid that they would lose their identity if the bill was passed.
The controversial bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to grant Indian nationality to people belonging to minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12, even if they don’t possess proper documents. This was an election promise of the BJP in 2014.
The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8 and is awaiting Rajya Sabha nod.
West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee have also said that her party would oppose the Citizenship (Amendment), Bill.