AIZAWL, Jan 8 - Most north-eastern parties including the allies of BJP, opposition Congress and Left parties have strongly opposed the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, saying �the Bill is against the fundamental aspect of the Indian constitution�.
Besides Congress, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) led Left parties, Bharatiya Janata Party�s partners Indigenous People�s Front of Tripura (IPFT) and National People�s Party (NPP) in Meghalaya and most other regional parties are strongly opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, and demanded its withdrawal.
IPFT Assistant General Secretary Mangal Debbarma told IANS that National Federation for New States (NFNS), a conglomerate of many small parties in the north-eastern region and other States, has also been opposing the Bill.
�We have raised the issue in the last meeting of NEDA (North East Democratic Alliance) in Guwahati recently. Many of the constituents of the NEDA, including Mizoram�s ruling party Mizo National Front (MNF) are also opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill,� Debbarma said.
Assam�s powerful minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is the convener of the BJP-led anti-Congress alliance � NEDA.
All Mizoram NGOs, including the influential Young Mizo Association, and political parties like People�s Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM) have been strongly opposing the Bill, claiming it would change the demography of several north-eastern States.
Mizo Student Federation President L. Ramdinliana Renthlei told the media in Aizawl that they would not allow the government to implement the new citizenship law in Mizoram. Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) are also opposing the Bill. Tripura�s oldest tribal based party INPT (Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura) blocked the national highway and the lone railway line in the state last month, demanding withdrawal of the Bill.
INPT General Secretary Jagadish Debbarma said that they would intensify their agitations in Tripura as well as Delhi to press for the withdrawal of the Bill.
BJP�s veteran tribal leader Rampada Jamatia, supporting the Bill, told IANS: �While considering the Citizenship Bill, the logic and sentiment of the parties of the north-eastern region should be looked into.�
�The Left Parties, the Congress and many other parties would strongly oppose the Bill. There is no scope in the Constitution to provide citizenship on the basis of religion. The cut off date to determine the foreigners had already decided on the basis of the 1971 Indira-Mujib pact,� CPI-M Chief Whip in the Lok Sabha Jitendra Chowdhury told IANS over phone from Delhi.
He said the BJP is in a hurry to pass the Bill in the Parliament to gain political mileage ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
The 30-member Joint Parliamentary panel led by BJP MP Rajendra Agrawal during the course of its study visits, met a cross section of people in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Assam and Meghalaya and heard the views of organisations, individuals, experts and others.
The committee also heard the views of the chief secretaries and police chiefs of Assam, Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
The Citizenship Act of 1955 provides for various ways in which Indian citizenship may be acquired � by birth, descent, registration, naturalisation and by incorporation of territory into India. � IANS