There were widespread protests against the implementation of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in several parts of Northeast earlier this year

Arunachal Pradesh home minister Bamang Felix (right) will be the chairman of the consultative committee constituted for safeguarding the interests of the indigenous people of the state

Itanagar: Chief minister Pema Khandu-led-BJP government in Arunachal Pradesh has constituted a consultative committee for safeguarding the rights of the indigenous people of the state following the Central government’s proposal for enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

The contentious Bill which seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to provide citizenship to illegal migrants, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who are of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian extraction, was passed in Lok Sabha on January 8 this year.

An official order issued late on Tuesday evening confirmed that a consultative committee has been constituted with home minister Bamang Felix as the chairman and MLAs Ninong Ering, Tapak Taku, Kardo Nyigor, Kento Jini and Hayeng Mangfi as members.

The other two names in the members’ list are that of senior advocate general of Arunachal Pradesh Kardak Ete and commissioner (home) Kaling Tayeng, while secretary (general administration) Sadhna Deori has been appointed as the member secretary of the committee.

The consultative committee will conduct meetings with all stakeholders including community-based organisations, student unions, political parties and other organisations and individuals. They will give recommendations on the issue, in respect of the safeguards enshrined in the Constitution of India, Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1873 and Chin Hill Regulations Act of 1896 and other acts and rules in place protecting the interests of indigenous people of Arunachal Pradesh.

The Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act makes it mandatory for people visiting Arunachal Pradesh to possess an inner-line permit while the Chin Hills Regulation Act empowers the local administration to evict undesirable outsiders and tax permanent or temporary residents, clans and villages.

The recommendations highlighting the concerns of the people regarding the impending Citizenship (Amendment) Bill would be submitted to the state government, which will be further presented to the concerned ministry, so as to ensure that adequate provisions are incorporated in the aforesaid bill safeguarding the interests of the people of the State.

It is worth mentioning that in light of the possibility of Citizenship Amendment bill expected to be tabled in Parliament of India in the ensuing winter session, there is an apprehension among the indigenous people of the state regarding protection of indigenous rights of the APSTs in the aforesaid bill.

During a recent meeting of North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) in Guwahati, Union home minister Amit Shah had assured that the concerns of the people of the Northeastern states will be incorporated in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and had sought suggestions in the regard.

It may also be mentioned that Khandu had recently announced to form a consultative committee to safeguard the rights and interest of the indigenous people of the state during a public rally.

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