Meghalaya government to oppose Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

SHILLONG, May 8: The Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government today decided to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, proposed by the Centre to make migrants of six communities eligible for citizenship of India.
The unanimous decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma ahead of the May 10 visit by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, to solicit views from the state government and stakeholders.
“The Cabinet has decided to say no to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, proposed by the Centre after taking into consideration and detailed discussion on the draft bill,” Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong told reporters after the meeting.
Tynsong said that the Cabinet’s decision will be officially communicated to the Centre through the JPC, which will visit Meghalaya for two days from May 10.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, was introduced in the Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955.
A key amendment in the bill seeks to grant citizenship to people without valid documents from minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India.
Asked the reason behind the decision by the Meghalaya government in which the BJP is one of the coalition partners, Tynsong said the Cabinet has decided to oppose the Bill as it does not serve the purpose of the people of the state, which is a small tribal one.
He said that the Bill is “dangerous” taking into consideration that Meghalaya and the north eastern region is bound by Bangladesh, Nepal, China and Myanmar.
“This looks dangerous as a Christian or a Hindu once they are here for six years can become a citizen of India,” he added.
Meanwhile, NGOs in the state, including the Federation of Khasi-Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP), has decided to stage a protest during the visit of the JPC on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. (PTI)