Aizawl: National People’s Party’s (NPP) Mizoram state president and former legislator Hmingdailova Khiangte on Friday dubbed the Centre’s move to exclude the inner line permit (ILP) and scheduled areas of Northeast from the purview of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill as a “safety valve” to avoid riot in the region.
The entire Northeast has been witnessing massive protests against the Bill since last year.
Speaking with reporters at a press conference on Friday, Khiangte said that the proposed citizenship law is unconstitutional as it sidelines the Muslim community which is against the principle of secularism in a secular country like India.
He said that the new Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who faced religious persecution in those countries.
“The Centre’s move to keep the inner line permit areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and sixth scheduled areas of Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura out of the purview of the proposed legislation is nothing but an attempt to soothe the growing tension and avoid riot in the Northeast region,” he said.
The former Congress law maker also said that the Northeastern region was not entirely united against the Bill because majority of the states are under Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule.
He alleged that even Mizoram was not wholeheartedly united to oppose the proposed amendment bill.
“The state government, NGOs and the people as a whole were not united. In spite of several efforts, we did not take any concrete measure to oppose the bill,” Khiangte said.
He said that the manner in which the Centre is planning to implement the new law across the country is against the interest of the people of Northeast.
According to Khiangte, the NPP also passed a resolution opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on November 30, the day representatives of all political parties and NGOs from Mizoram met union home minister Amit Shah over the proposed law.
He added that the party also passed a resolution asking the Centre to ensure that the Naga peace talks do not affect other states and stakeholders.
Meanwhile, former Mizoram chief minister and state Congress president Lal Thanhawla blamed the Centre for approving the new amendment bill.
During a political session at Congress Bhavan in Aizawl on Friday, Lal Thanhawla alleged that the BJP’s next move after Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is nothing but to introduce uniform civil code in the country.
Accusing the BJP of attempting to establish a religion based kingdom in the country, the Congress leader alleged that uniform civil code is nothing but a Hindu civil code and the BJP is trying to impose this civil code on its citizens in order to establish religious oriented kingdom.
On November 30, Lal Thanhawla was conferred honorary doctorate degree (doctor of divinity) by Serampore College (University) in honour of his outstanding contribution towards the society.