The resolution, adopted after a prolonged discussion, said the House wants to impress upon the Centre its unequivocal opposition to the proposed bill which seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to make illegal migrants eligible for Indian citizenship on the basis of religion.
Home minister R. Lalzirliana, who moved the resolution, said the bill was against the principle of secularism and, if enacted, would harm states such as Mizoram as it would invite influx from the neighbouring countries.
The minister and other members of the Assembly said the bill, if passed, would harm the small state where a large number of Buddhist migrants from Bangladesh already live.
The bill, which was introduced by home minister Rajnath Singh in Parliament in 2016, seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who fled religious persecution and entered India till December 31, 2014, after a stay of six years in the country.
Chief minister Lal Thanhawla had earlier alleged that the bill was an attempt by the BJP-led Centre to grant citizenship to Hindus only. He had alleged that the Centre had no intention of according citizenship to Christians or any other religious minorities.
All Mizoram NGOs, including the influential Young Mizo Association, and political parties like People’s Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM) have strongly opposed the bill, saying it would change the demography of the state.
Apart from Congress-ruled Mizoram, the NPP-ruled Meghalaya government, which has the BJP as an ally, had also decided to oppose the bill in May this year.
The bill has evoked strong resentment in BJP-ruled Assam, especially in the Brahmaputra Valley.
Dispur, however, has not spelt out its stand yet other than saying that it would not take any decision against the interests of the state and its people.
A protest against the bill was held in the entire Northeast on May 21 by various student bodies, under the aegis of the North East Students’ Organisation (Neso). They demanded the immediate withdrawal of the bill.
Source: TNT-TheNorthEastToday (The Telegraph)