Lok Sabha MPs from North-East Indian states remained divided on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, with Assam MPs Gaurav Gogoi and Pradyot Bordoloi of the Congress and Badruddin Ajmal of AIUDF, and Indra Hang Subba of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha opposing the Bill. Members from other states, including Manipur and Meghalaya, backed the Bill.
Raising concerns, Gogoi said exemptions kept in the Bill for ILP and 6th Schedule areas were mere cosmetic measures. “This Bill is creating a division between tribal and non-tribal people and has been brought purely for political mileage,’’ Gogoi said.
Pallab Lochan Das, BJP MP from Tezpur, admitted there is apprehension among people in Assam, and that Assam Accord was brought in to protect the language, culture and traditions of the Assamese people.
Subba said, “Sikkim was not a part of India during independence but was merged in 1975 and is protected by provisions of 371 (F), which protects our traditional laws. We demand that Sikkim also receive exemption from CAB, and till that time we oppose the Bill.’’
Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party’s Tokheho Yepthomi and Mizo National Front’s C Lalrosanga said Shah’s assurances of exempting the NE states have made them support the Bill.
Agatha Sangma, NPP MP from Tura, Meghalaya, welcomed CAB and thanked the Home Minister for his extensive consultations but asked Shah to clarify where people receiving citizenship would be housed. Naga People’s Front Lorho S Pfoze, said Inner Line Permit facility extended to Manipur, as announced by Shah while introducing the Bill, would shield his state from the influx of refugees, a reason for protests in the state.