Be battle-ready

Union Home Minister Amit Shah during the recent NEDA convention held at Guwahati announced that the citizenship amendment bill (CAB) will be brought back again. Prior to the general election of 2019, when the BJP pushed for the CAB, it was bitterly opposed throughout the NE region. In fact, several chief ministers of the northeastern states, including Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu, had opposed the CAB. But the BJP seems intent on passing the bill. The saffron party wants to help Hindu and Buddhist refugees coming from Bangladesh to gain Indian citizenship by passing the CAB. The indigenous people of the NE region strongly oppose the bill as it has the potential to change the demography of the region.
Though the home minister assured that the CAB would not hurt the interests of the indigenous people, the people are still wary. In states like Tripura and Assam, the indigenous people are facing threat due to the burgeoning migrant population. Especially in Tripura, the ethnic tribal groups have been reduced to minority by the Bengali settlers. Therefore, if the CAB is passed, it will have serious implications on the whole of NE region as the majority of Bangladeshi Hindu and Buddhist refugees have settled in the region. In the context of Arunachal Pradesh, once the CAB is passed, the Chakma and Hajong refugees will become eligible for Indian citizenship. This may lead to bitter conflict between the indigenous people and the new settlers. The way the BJP is pushing for the CAB, it seems it does not respect the sentiments of the indigenous people of the NE region. The people of the region will have to be ready for another round of bitter battle against the government of India.