UNION Home Minister Amit Shah is holding a series of meetings with Chief Ministers of Northeastern States and leaders of socio-cultural bodies, students’ organisations and political parties from the region beginning on Friday on plans to amend the Citizenship Act, officials said.
Those whom Shah is holding discussions on Friday, Saturday and on December 3 with include North East Students’ Organisation, All Bodo Students’ Union and students bodies from Meghalaya, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. The meetings with the Chief Ministers will be held on Saturday, an official said. Leaders of several political parties -- both regional and State chiefs of national political parties -- and heads of socio-cultural organisations have also been invited for the discussions, the official said. Shah is holding the meetings in the wake of strong protests registered by many organisations against the Bill in the North-East.
The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, in order to grant Indian nationality to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who come to India after facing religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan even if they don’t possess proper documents.
This was an election promise of the BJP in the 2014 and the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. A large section of people and organisations in the North-East have opposed the Bill, saying it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.