ITANAGAR, March 31 - Union Minister Kiren Rijiju on Sunday said the Centre did not introduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha respecting the interests of the people of the North East.
The people of the region, he said, had staged protests without understanding the pros and cons of the Bill. The government, respecting their sentiments, decided not to introduce the Bill in the Rajya Sabha though many States were supporting it, the Union Minister of State for Home told reporters here.
The controversial Bill, passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, sought to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after seven years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any documents. It is now set to lapse on June 3.
Rijiju claimed that the Bill would in no way affect Arunachal Pradesh, from where he hails, as it is governed by a different set of laws and under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act. People from other states need to take Inner Line Permit to enter Arunachal Pradesh, while foreigners need to obtain Protected Area Permit (PAP) and Restricted Area Permit (RAP), he pointed. �I am committed to protect the interests and rights of the people of state,� he added.
Asked whether the Centre is willing for talks with ULFA(I) chief Paresh Barua, Rijiju said the government recognises only the pro-talk faction of the outfit led by Arabinda Rajkhowa. �Paresh Barua has link with many underground groups who are against India. We cannot compromise on our sovereignty,� he added. � PTI