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Ten political parties in Northeast combine to oppose Citizenship Bill

india Updated: Jan 29, 2019 14:22 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Citizenship Bill,Northeastern states,BJP

A mass rally organized by All Assam Students Union (AASU) along with 30 other indigenous organizations of the Northeastern states in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 in Guwahati on January 23. (ANI)

In another headache for the BJP, ten political parties from the Northeast, including its current and former allies came together on a joint platform in Guwahati on Tuesday to oppose the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

The parties, several belonging to the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance resolved to oppose the Bill together “in the interest of the people of northeast”. The proposed law continues to rock the Northeast with locals protesting against it.

The parties include Asom Gana Parishad, National Peoples Party, Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura, Naga Peoples Front, Mizo National Front and Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party, all of which are anti-Congress.

“This meeting is the outcome of a natural process as we felt we must come together and oppose the Bill in one voice,” said NPP president and Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma.

“The meeting resolved to meet the President and Prime Minister and appeal to withdraw the Bill,” Sangma, who was the convener of the meeting, added.

The Bill, which seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan has led to fears in the Northeast about an influx of illegal immigrants to the region.

The Bill has already been passed in Lok Sabha and is expected to come for voting in the Rajya Sabha in the Budget session beginning January 31.

“We took a strong resolution to condemn and totally oppose the Bill intended to be passed by Central government,” Mizoram chief minister and MNF president Zoramthanga said.

Mizoram had witnessed a boycott of Republic Day functions following a call by an NGO to protest the Bill.

But despite their opposition, the parties refused to associate the move with the coming Lok Sabha polls and denied any realingnment of association with the BJP yet.

“We are happy that instead of opposing the Bill separately, we have come together for a common cause,” said Atul Bora, president of AGP.

AGP had quit the BJP led government in Assam in December over opposition to the Bill.

NPP leads the coalition government in Meghalaya of which BJP is a junior partner.

The Centre and the BJP insists that the Bill has enough safeguards for local communities and their cultures.

First Published: Jan 29, 2019 13:37 IST