With the contentious Citizenship (amendment) Bill set to lapse on June 3 as it was not tabled in the Rajya Sabha which adjourned sine die on Wednesday, a wave of jubilation swept across northeastern states, with different political parties claiming credit for the outcome.
Tripura’s ruling ally Indigenous Peoples’ Front of Tripura (IPFT) spokesperson Mangal Debbarma told reporters that the Bill was not placed since his party requested Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh not to pass it.
“We requested Home Minister Rajnath Singh not to pass the Citizenship Amendment Bill. We thank the central government for honouring our request and not passing it. The entire credit for not passing the Bill goes to us,” Mangal said.
North East Students Organization (NESO) Joint Secretary Upendra Debbarma said the Bill was not passed in the Parliament since people from Northeastern states and other parts of the country supported NESO wholeheartedly.
“We got results in our favour due to a unified and joint effort of people from NE India and other parts of the country. We are grateful to everyone who have supported us,” Upendra Debbarma told media.
Meanwhile, Movement Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (MACAB) leaders have claimed that their agitation against the controversial legislation was the reason. MACAB is a joint forum of Congress and different tribal political parties like Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (NPT), IPFT Tipraha, National Conference of Tripura (NCT) formed to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill. It held a series of protests at Khumulwng in West Tripura and Khowai districts.
MACAB leader Dinesh Debbarma, who is also Tripura Pradesh Congress General Secretary, today told reporters that the organisation would organise a rally on February 23 in Agartala.
“We thank everybody for supporting us in our movement. We shall organise a rally in Agartala to express our gratitude. The rally is likely to be organized on February 23,” Dinesh Debbarma said.
When asked about his reaction on sine die adjournment, CPI (M) state secretary Goutam Das said progress in the Rajya Sabha was a reflection of a series of protests held in Northeast India against the Citizenship Amendment Bill. He congratulated all MPs for the outcome
CPI (M) MPs Jitendra Chaudhury, Shankar Prasad Dutta and Jharna Das Baidya opposed the Bill in the Parliament. The trio also boycotted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Tripura on February 09 as a sign of protest against the legislation.
Tripura BJP spokesperson Dr Ashok Sinha claimed Citizenship Amendment Bill was “unnecessarily politicised” and claimed most of the agitators were unaware of the contents of the Bill.
“The Parliament will decide what happens with the Citizenship Amendment Bill. However, it was unnecessarily politicised unnecessarily. I am in doubt if those who protested against it are aware of its contents,” Sinha said.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb told a press conference this evening that the Citizenship Bill was politicised by certain people. “Some people are spreading confusion and misleading others. A sense of distrust has been created amongst people due to this. But my Tripura will be safe. Chief Minister is there to keep it safe…Please know what’s in the Bill first. People might be protesting it for political benefits. Don’t take decision in a hurry,” he said. Biplab also appealed to people to “identify those spreading rumours”.
Tripura royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya, who spearheaded the entire anti-Citizenship Bill movement in Tripura, today said on Facebook Live that sine die adjournment of Rajya Sabha session without placing the Bill proved that people won over politics.
“Jati Jeeta Hain, Party Haara Hain (Jati has won and party has lost). But we have to be cautious. If they are elected again, the central government might try to bring it back through backdoor,” he said.