New Delhi: Amid raging protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act across the country, Union home minister Amit Shah has hinted that some changes could be brought in to address the concerns raised by Meghalaya. The minister said this addressing a rally in Jharkhand on Saturday, which was his first public address after the Act was passed in the Rajya Sabha.
“Now that the Citizenship Act has been passed Conrad Sangma (Meghalaya CM) and his ministers met me and informed me about some changes they want. I told him we will sit and talk and find out in a positive way what could be done to solve the problems of Meghalaya. No one needs to be worried,” the home minister can be seen saying.
On December 13, a delegation led by Conrad Sangma met Amit Shah seeking some “protection” on the lines of Inner Line Permit like Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. The state government has passed an Ordinance for mandatory registration of outsiders entering the state. The Ordinance is awaiting the Governor’s approval.
Meghalaya witnessed violent protests in the aftermath of the passage of the Act in Parliament, which grants citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Jains, Sikhs and Parsis fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. The northeastern states are apprehensive that the move is aimed at ethnic cleansing of the northeast by allowing an influx of Bangladeshi Hindu migrants.
Inner Line permit is an official travel document that is required by an Indian citizen to travel to a protected area for a limited period. ILPs are required to visit Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur.
Under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution which deals with the administration of the tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, most of the areas of Meghalaya are protected from the Citizenship Act. The rest of Meghalaya, too, wants similar protection.
“The home minister asked us to go back and celebrate Christmas and has assured us that the issue will be resolved soon,” Meghalaya CM had said after meeting Amit Shah.