Chief minister Zoramthanga addressing a function at Aibawk village near Aizawl Credit: EastMojo Image

Aizawl: A day after Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP) president and Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) leader Lalduhoma urged the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) to pull out of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga on Thursday said his party was not hesitant to pull out of the alliance and sever ties with the saffron party to oppose the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

Addressing a function at Aibawk village near Aizawl, Zoramthanga said the state government was strongly opposed to the bill and had taken a resolution opposing its passage by the Lok Sabha on January 8.

Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga

He said that the state government as well as the MNF was not hesitant to spearhead agitation against the Citizenship Bill and pull out of NEDA if necessary in order to stand with the people against the proposed legislation.

On Wednesday, Lalduhoma had said that the MNF should cut ties with the BJP and pull out of NEDA in order to show solidarity to the people against the Citizenship Bill. The IPS officer-turned-politician, who is also the opposition leader in the state legislature, also accused the state government of not taking enough efforts to oppose or get the Bill scrapped.

Citing that the state government was determined to oppose the controversial Bill, Zoramthanga on Thursday told party workers that he has taken massive efforts over the bill and raised the issue before Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Rajnath Singh during his visit to the national capital last week.

“I told the Prime Minister and Home Minister that the people of Mizoram were vehemently opposed to the bill and also to honour the Mizo peace accord, which give special protection to the people of the state within the framework of the constitution,” he said.

The three-time Mizoram chief minister also said that he reminded Modi and Singh of the 20-year-long insurgency in the state and that the Mizos may choose to be part of Myanmar or China, if the Centre goes against their interest.

“There are procedures to approach the Centre. We will take massive efforts to oppose and get the bill scrapped,” he said.

Mizoram, known to be the most peaceful state in the country, has been witnessing a series of protests over the Citizenship Bill for a couple of weeks now. Spearheaded by the influential student body, Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), a 11-hour strike was imposed across the state on January 8, the day the Lok Sabha passed the Bill, which seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955.

This was followed by observance of black day on January 12 and massive protest rally on Wednesday. The agitation against the bill has been intensified in the state with civil bodies giving a boycott call of the Republic Day celebration across the state.

Vanlalruata, president of NGO Coordination Committee, which is an umbrella body of major civil societies and student bodies in the state, said that the committee would go ahead with its decision despite an appeal by the state government to withdraw the call.

He said the boycott call was given by the committee in order to draw attention from the Centre over the proposed legislation.

All political parties, including the ruling MNF and BJP, also expressed strong opposition against the Bill.

Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), an electoral alliance of six regional parties, which bagged eight seats in the state assembly polls held on November 28 last year, said it will boycott Republic Day by skipping official functions.

The newly floated political party, People’s Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM), which was earlier an anti-corruption watchdog, also said it would observe black day on the occasion of Republic Day to demonstrate its strong opposition to the citizenship bill.

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