Leaders of 11 political parties came together in Guwahati on Tuesday against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and decided to appeal to the Central government to scrap the legislation.
The parties from seven states excluding Sikkim participated in the convention and unanimously decided to oppose the controversial bill that seeks to grant citizenship to migrants from six non-Muslim minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga and Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma, who were part of the meeting, said that they will now jointly oppose the bill.
Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal United was also part of the meeting.
Among the parties present during the meeting, six are part of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), a platform of non-Congress parties led by BJP in the region.
“We have come together for this convention and passed a strong resolution condemning the Citizenship Amendment Bill. If the bill is implemented, it will be very dangerous and harmful for us. We will have to take strong steps against the bill. We will meet the President and the Prime Minister. We will also invite the like-minded political parties so that the bill can be opposed together,” said Mizoram CM Zoramthanga who is the party president of Mizo National Front (MNF).
National People’s Party (NPP), Mizo National Front (MNF), United Democratic Party (UDP), Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Naga People’s Front (NPF), Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), People’s Democratic Front (PDF), Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) and Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) besides the JD(U) were part of the meeting in Guwahati.
“This is a natural process and it’s not anyway politically motivated. What we felt strongly is that we must come together and one voice to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill. This is the coming out of the sentiments of the people. Because of the responsibility, we as the leaders of Northeast, are to protect the region and the people. This is what motivated us today. This is not an organized meeting but something that happened very naturally,” said Conrad K Sangma who was the convenor of the convention and president of NPP.
The bill which has already been passed in the Lok Sabha endorses citizenship to the Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, and Parsi migrants who have come to India facing religious persecution up to December 31, 2014.
The bill has widely been opposed in Assam and other Northeast states. Only a few pockets in Barak Valley in Assam have witnessed support for the bill.