TODAY -

Political parties petition Najma to convene House
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 23 2019: Leaders of nine political parties submitted a memorandum to the Governor on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 appealing her to direct the State Government to summon a special session of Manipur Legislative Assembly to discuss the Bill and for the Central Government and Parliament to withdraw the Bill.

During the meeting, the Governor expressed willingness to apprise the President of the country on the CAB by writing a letter in the interest of the people of Manipur and to send copies to the Prime Minister and the Home Affairs Minister to look into the matter.

She also assured to suggest the CM to convene a special session of the Legislative Assembly to discuss the Bill.

On the other hand, an all political party meeting has been called on January 28 to discuss the development regarding the CAB.

The memo submitted by the leaders of nine political parties drew the attention of the Governor on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 which was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8 to provide citizenship to people who suffer religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, as Minister of Home Affairs, Rajnath Singh mentioned when he introduced the Bill in the Lok Sabha.

Explaining that the Bill would cover Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Jains and Parsis who are religious minorities in the said three countries, the memo conveyed that the basic aim of the amendment is objectionable as the Bill opens the flood gate for religious criteria for citizenship and violates Article 14 and 15 of the Constitution which guarantees the right to equality.

The Citizenship Act prohibits illegal migrants from acquiring Indian citizenship on the basis of religion, it added.

It continued that at present, under the Act, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 years and for 11 years of the previous 14 years.

The amendment relaxes the 11 years requirement to 6 years for persons belonging to the six religious communities, it mentioned adding that the Bill seems to be endorsing the Hindutva idea that India is a land of the Hindus and all Hindus living outside the country can come back and special privileges will be given for claiming citizenship.

It continued that in the Bill, only the Muslims are singled out for exclusion and added that the process of naturalisation as citizens must be on a secular basis, not on religious affiliation of the applicant.

Pointing out that the CAB has already been met with strong opposition from political parties, pressure groups and CSOs, particularly in NE region, it explained that the people fear that the Bill will greatly affect the indigenous people as the illegal migrants will swarm the land thus making them a minority in their own land.

This is a legitimate apprehension and nothing should be done to bypass and undermine the sentiments of the people as expressed in the Assam Accord and other accords which were inked after prolonged agitations and wide spread consensus.

Strongly opposing the CAB, the memo appealed to the Governor to direct the authority concerned to convene a special session of the State Assembly to discuss the CAB as well as to urge the Central Government and the Parliament to withdraw the Bill.


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