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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Mizo organisations to oppose Amit Shah’s visit to state on October 5

Members of the NGO coordination committee will wear black dresses, carry placards and wave black flags along Amit Shah’s route from the airport to Aizawl town.

india Updated: Sep 29, 2019 15:18 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Union home minister Amit Shah will visit Mizoram’s capital Aizawl on October 5.
Union home minister Amit Shah will visit Mizoram’s capital Aizawl on October 5.(HT Photo)

Union home minister Amit Shah’s proposed visit to Mizoram next month may not go smoothly as the umbrella organisation of student bodies and civil society groups in the state are planning to oppose it, saying Shah will attempt to canvass for the proposed citizenship bill.

Shah will visit Mizoram’s capital Aizawl on October 5, the first one after assuming office, and is expected to hold discussions about Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).

The bill seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians and Jains from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who entered India till December 31, 2014.

The legislation, which was passed by the Lok Sabha, lapsed earlier this year after the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre did not table it in the Rajya Sabha. Now, the new government wants to reintroduce the bill in Parliament.

Also read: Amit Shah’s comment on reintroducing CAB sparks opposition in Assam

“The committee has resolved to oppose the visit of Amit Shah, which is to campaign for CAB. We had opposed the legislation earlier as well and our stand on the issue is same as before,” secretary of Mizoram NGO coordination committee Lalhmachhuana said.

Various organisations in Mizoram led by the NGO coordination committee had opposed CAB earlier and even boycotted Republic Day celebrations this year. They fear an influx of Chakma refugees in large numbers from Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh if CAB is passed in Parliament.

“Chakmas from Bangladesh come to Mizoram illegally through the porous border and settle in southern parts of our state. If CAB is passed, these illegal infiltrators would get Indian citizenship. We don’t want that to happen,” Lalhmachhuana said.

As part of their opposition to CAB as well as Shah’s visit, members of NGO coordination committee will wear black dresses, carry placards and wave black flags along the route from the airport to Aizawl town.

According to Ricky Lalbiakmawia of Mizo Zirlai Pawl, the state’s biggest youth organisation, protesters would wear ‘pawndum’, a shawl worn by Mizos during funerals, during Shah’s visit to Aizawl.

Also read: Congress cautions Centre on Assam NRC, worried over citizenship bill

“If Shah tries to meet us, we will submit a representation to him through a letter expressing our opposition to the legislation. Our stand on the issue is very clear and whatever Shah says is not going to convince us,” added Lalhmachhuana.

The president of the BJP’s Mizoram unit JV Hluna asked the groups not to oppose Shah’s visit.

“It is an important visit by such a senior union minister to Mizoram. The visit is an opportunity for Mizoram to submit their projects and requests and we should not lose that by opposing,” Hluna said.

“I appeal to all organisations and the NGO coordination committee to cancel the protests and make the visit a successful one,” he said.

During his visit to Guwahati earlier this month, Shah had assured chief ministers of the northeastern states that enactment of CAB won’t affect existing special provisions for the region.

Several chief ministers, including Conrad Sangma of Meghalaya, Neiphiu Rio of Nagaland and Zoramthanga of Mizoram who had attended the meeting with Shah, had expressed reservations about CAB.

“If at all, it (the Bill) has to be implemented, then please see if northeast can be excluded from it. I request you (Shah) to look into the vulnerability of the region,” Zoramthanga had said in his address.

First Published: Sep 29, 2019 13:29 IST

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