Shillong, Dec 6: Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu said on Friday that the proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955, will not affect the state since the rights of the indigenous people of Arunachal were protected within the Indian Constitution.
“Northeast as whole has its own unique provision under the Indian Constitution, so does Arunachal Pradesh. We are already covered under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1873, the Chin Hill Regulations Act of 1896 and other acts and rules in place to protect the interests of indigenous people of the state of Arunachal Pradesh,” Khandu told journalists.
“I don’t see the Citizenship Amendment Bill to be problematic for Arunachal since we are protected,” he added.
The Chief Minister, who led a delegation comprising leaders from different political parties and civil society groups, in a recent consultative meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, had sought special provision to protect the interests of indigenous tribal communities of Arunachal, which should be in accordance with the public sentiments.
“We have requested the Centre to exempt Arunachal Pradesh from the Citizenship Amendment Bill. The Home Minister has assured us that Arunachal Pradesh and the northeast will be kept in mind before drafting the Bill. Let us see how the draft Bill comes up,” Khandu said.
The Bill will be introduced in the Parliament on December 11 after the Union Cabinet gave its nod to it on Wednesday. The Cabinet approval came after Shah held consultative meetings with the Chief Ministers of the northeastern states, leaders of different political parties and civil society groups and other stakeholders in New Delhi.