ITANAGAR: The Arunachal Civil Society (ACS) has expressed strong resentment over the central government’s decision to reintroduce the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in the winter session of the Parliament, which is expected to start from November 18.
The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, and grant citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who illegally migrated into India and have resided in India for at least six years.
In a press release, Arunachal Civil Society chairperson Patey Tayum said if the Bill is passed in the winter session, it would drastically change the demography of Arunachal, where 98 per cent of the population comprises indigenous people.
“It is well known to our political leaders that more than one lakh Chakma, Hajong, Tibetan and other non-APSTs, who are mostly Hindu and Buddhist immigrants, are settled mostly in Namsai, Changlang, Papum Pare, Tawang, West Kameng and the Upper Siang districts for the last many decades,” it said.
Tayum added that there is a fear psychosis amongst the denizens that these immigrants would overshadow the indigenous people as their population is double in number in comparison to some of the indigenous tribes of the State.
The ACS further said there is no proper means in Article 371 (H) of the Constitution of India “through which we can protect ourselves, our land, water and other resources. The only hope is the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.”
It also said that the points worth noting in the CAB are that it would directly wipe out the Assam Accord, 1985, “and the recent resolution of the State government on permanent residential certificate to non-APSTs in Arunachal.”
“The CAB will automatically entitle the non-APSTs settled in Arunachal to avail Permanent Resident Certificates (PRCs) because, as per the condition of the CAB, 2016, one has to be residing in the country for at least six years, whereas in Arunachal there are thousands of non-APSTs residing in the State for the last 50 years.”
The organisation appealed to the State government to “strongly oppose the said Bill and give its clear stand in the proposed all-party meeting to be held on November 4.”
It threatened that the ACS, along with other CBOs, would otherwise resort to mass democratic movements against the CAB.