Citizenship Amendment Bill passage in House will be smooth: Himanta Biswa Sarma
NEDA convener Himanta Biswa Sarma has credited party president and Union home minister Amit Shah for leading the outreach, which he said would ensure the passage of the controversial Bill in Parliament.Updated: Dec 05, 2019 06:41 IST
The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) expected to be tabled in Parliament next week will not face any opposition as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has undertaken extensive outreach to address concerns and make changes that will safeguards interests of the people in the North Eastern states, Himanta Biswa Sarma, the convener of the North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) said on Wednesday.
He credited party president and Union home minister Amit Shah for leading the outreach, which he said would ensure the passage of the controversial Bill in Parliament where several parties including the Congress and the All India Trinamool Congress are opposed to it.
“There was huge outreach by Amit Shah. In a span of three months, and over 110 hours, he met at least 600 individuals and organisations and political leaders to hear their concerns. We are hopeful that the passage of the Bill will be a smooth affair and there will be no anger in the North East,” Sarma told HT.
The Bill seeks to grant citizenship to persecuted minorities--Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Parsees, Sikhs and Christians-- from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan; but there was opposition to it from several states in the Northeast , which wanted protection for their ethnic and tribal groups.
“There were concerns among states in the Northeast where the Inner-line-Permit (ILP) is applicable and in Schedule VI (of the Constitution) areas…those concerns have been addressed in the revised draft. We have specified that CAB will not be applicable in states that have ILP and in Schedule VI areas,” Sarma said.
The ILP is applicable in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram; while the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution-enabled autonomous councils and districts are in Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura.
“The government has already assured Manipur and Tripura where the tribal communities have sought protection that their concerns will also be addressed,” Sarma said.
On West Bengal chief minister and Trinamool leader Mamata Banerjee accusing the BJP of fostering polarisation through the introduction of the Bill and calling for a pan India National Citizens Register, Sarma said, she is “misleading” people in her state and confusing the National register of Citizens with CAB.
Banerjee has publicly opposed a possible NRC in West Bengal and has also said that her party will oppose CAB when it is introduced in the Parliament. The BJP has said it will implement NRC across India.
“CAB promises protection to minorities that has been pending for years. When it is passed, one crore Bengali Hindus will get citizenship and she will lose her political space, because Hindus will no longer be confused,” Sarma said.
On those opposing the Bill Sarma said, “I am of the opinion that the Bill will not provoke mass reaction in the North East. And while we are trying to reach out to all; we cannot say that we can bring everyone to (toe) our line.”