Will oppose if Citizenship Bill goes against people: Sangma

Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Monday said that neither his government nor his party, the National People’s Party (NPP), will support the Citizenship Amendment Bill if the content of the proposed amendment goes against the interest of the people of the state and the northeast region.

The BJP-led NDA government has listed the amendment of the Citizenship Act, 1955, during the winter session of Parliament which commenced on Monday.

“Our stand is very clear on the issue. If there is anything that is against the people of the state and the region as a whole, we will always stand against it. The interest of our people is our priority,” Sangma told IANS.

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“The word CAB (Citizenship Amendment Bill) is not something which anybody is against. It has been there in the past. But it is the content inside it which is our concern. We would like to know whether the concern of the state and its people are being addressed,” he said.

The Chief Minister said the Central government is very keen in ensuring that it reaches out to various stakeholders and understands their concerns on this issue.

“I have already met the Home Minister (Amit Shah) twice on this issue and expressed my concerns over it. The Home Minister and other government officials will also discuss the issue with different groups and organisations,” he said.

Sangma said that he had also requested Shah to come to Shillong and visit other northeastern states and meet different political parties and other stakeholders.

The BJP-led NDA government had introduced the Bill in its previous tenure but could not push it through due to vehement protests by BJP allies and opposition parties. The Bill lapsed following the dissolution of the previous Lok Sabha.

The Bill seeks to remove the hurdles in the way of eligible migrants from six minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan from getting Indian citizenship.

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