A rally being carried out against the implementation of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 Credit: Representational image

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet, in a significant development on Wednesday, decided that states where Inner Line Permit (ILP) is applicable as well as the ‘Sixth Schedule’ tribal areas in four Northeastern states will be exempt from the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB).

The Cabinet decision assumes significance as the beneficiaries under CAB will become Indian citizens but will not be able to settle in Arunachal, Nagaland and Mizoram. As a matter of fact, the same restriction applies to existing Indian citizens.

Because of the Cabinet decision, a large section of Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura will be exempt from the purview of the CAB as parts of these states are under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.

The Citizenship Bill seeks to amend The Citizenship Act, 1955 to make Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship of India.

Earlier, Union home minister Amit Shah met politicians and organisations from the Northeastern states on Tuesday to understand their concerns over the proposed law. Shah held discussions with the representatives of students’ bodies and civil society groups of Assam on the CAB. Chief minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal, too, attended the meetings. It was the third such session held by Shah since Friday. Mizoram CM Zoramthanga also called on Shah.

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A large section of people and organisations in the Northeast have opposed the Bill, arguing that it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for genuine Indian citizens in Assam, irrespective of religion.

EastMojo correspondent Irani Sonowal Lepcha adds:

Chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu has welcomed the Centre’s decision and thanked the Union home minister Amit Shah on behalf of the people of the state through a social media post.

Now, the people who will be benefited by CAB will become Indian citizens but will not be able to settle in Arunachal, Nagaland and Mizoram. However, the restrictions are also for the existing Indian citizens.

Previously, on November 30, home minister Shah assured that the entire regime of ILP of Arunachal Pradesh, including applicable provisions of Bengal East Frontier Regulation (BEFR), 1873 and the Chin Hills Regulations (CHR), 1896, will be suitably incorporated in the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

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