Guwahati: As the Northeast intensifies stir against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the inner line permit areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram have been kept out of the purview of the amended Citizenship Bill including regions under the Sixth Schedule in the Northeast.
The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the bill to be tabled in the ongoing Winter Session of the Parliament in a couple of days.
The bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to grant Indian nationality to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian refugees fleeing religious persecution from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The amended Citizenship bill suggests that the beneficiaries will gain Indian nationality but will not be able to settle in areas where the Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime is applicable which includes Arunachal, Nagaland and Mizoram. Also, the Northeast regions under the Sixth Schedule- a large part of Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura- will be out of the purview of the Bill.
The Bill states, “Nothing in this section shall apply to Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, and to the areas covered under the inner line notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.”
The bill has been passed by the Union Cabinet amid protests and demonstrations in the Northeast region. The opposition and political parties including Trinamool, DMK, Samajwadi Party, RJD and the Left and even regional parties like BJD, minority outfits and civil societies have been against the bill claiming it to be ‘unconstitutional’ to grant citizenship on a religious basis.
It may be mentioned here that while Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya (sans ILP system) have been the most affected states in the country due to the serious migration from Bangladesh. Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland are not among those drastically affected by the migration. Mizoram also failed to curb the influx of Bangladeshi immigrants for it shares a border with Bangladesh despite having the ILP system.