Shillong Dec 11: Leader of Opposition in Meghalaya Assembly, Dr Mukul Sangma said that that the 6th Schedule and Inner Line Permit (ILP) will not protect the indigenous people even as he accused the NPP of making a u-turn regarding its stand against the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
Speaking to reporters at Congress Bhavan on Wednesday evening, the former Chief Minister termed the meeting with Home Minister Amit Shah was a ‘cosmetic exercise’ because concerns of the Northeast were not addressed.
“We are surprised and shocked despite resolution signed by all political parties and civil society organizations indicating our strong opposition to the passage of the CAB, somehow the NPP did a U-turn,” he said.
Mukul said that the chief minister, Conrad K Sangma was trying to tell that there is a justification to agree to the proposed bill to be passed.
“It was a betrayal and a politics of backstabbing, and we condemned it. They have taken the political parties and civil society organizations and people as a whole for a ride with complete disregard to the sentiments and views of the masses. Inspite of these concerns, the government of the day, courtesy the NPP and their leadership, have tried to convey to the nation and the world that people of Meghalaya and Northeast accept this anti-people, anti-national legislative exercise of the government of the day. It is anti-people, and there cannot be any bigger betrayal than this,” he said.
He said that the NDA government was trying to justify by saying the CAB is now in a new avatar, as it has provisions to protect the interest of the Northeast by exempting states having ILP and Sixth Schedule.
Mukul also said that every political party should ensure they keep their promises and questioned the NPP for promising to oppose the CAB, which has been part of their promises.
“It is the biggest betrayal, and against the spirit of democracy as well. We know the BJP has this in their manifesto, and they try to bulldoze,” he alleged.
Mukul also questioned as to how provisions of the Sixth Schedule and ILP can prevent citizens of the country.
Mukul said that ILP has been there from before in respect of Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, but the fact is, even when ILP is operational, the actual population of the indigenous community and non indigenous have increased in favour of non tribal.
“Even if we implement the Sixth Schedule or ILP or both, it will still not be enough to protect the interest of our people. We will need many more laws and legislative exercises which will be much more comprehensive and stringent to really protect the interest of our indigenous communities,” he said.
Recalling the anti-foreigners movement in Assam and whole exercise of NRC in Assam, Mukul said, all these are becoming redundant because 2014 is the cut off year as per the CAB, 2019.
“The Assam Accord has agreed that 1971 is the cut off year, and now suddenly you betray the people of the Northeast. The Assam Accord has its own positive impact on the whole Northeast and socio-political landscape. Assam cannot be considered in isolation from the Northeast because if it affects in Assam, it affects all states in the Northeast. But now the Meghalaya chief minister stated that we need not worry for future increase in the number of people seeking citizenship under the mandate of the CAB. He said that only applications made before and in 2014 will be considered, so you can understand the understanding of the person about the mandate of the CAB and the ramifications thereof,” he said.
Mukul said that the Congress would continue to oppose and also try to work out the modalities in order to be able to protect the whole Northeast.
“We oppose this bill and we demand it should be repealed. The Northeast will suffer together if this legislation is there,” Mukul while asking who are those people eligible for the citizenship.
“There is no answer, and nobody knows how many illegal immigrants will apply for the citizenship. It is a disastrous legislative exercise and our generation next will be subjected to vulnerable situation,” Mukul added.
He also said that exemption of the CAB will not help in addressing the concerns because illegal immigrants can apply for citizenship from any state and move to other parts of the country.