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Citizenship Amendment Bill To Dispel Mizoram's Fears, Offers Amit Shah
The Union Home Minister assured that Mizoram's inner line permit, a provision that checks the unabated entry of outsiders into the state, will not be affected by the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
Amit Shah's first visit to Mizoram after his ascension to the Home Minister's post.
New Delhi: Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will be tweaked to accommodate a "special safeguard", mentioned by Home Minister Amit Shah, who assured Mizoram that this amendment is aimed at ensuring that it does not override a long-standing provision that checks the unabated entry of outsiders into the state.
In meetings with Mizoram's Chief Minister Zoramthanga, Mr Shah placed special emphasis on protecting Mizoram's inner line permit (ILP), top leaders of civil society groups and student organisations amid fears that the proposed legislation will result in migrants flooding the state.
ILP is a travel document for those who want to enter a protected area for a limited period. Visitors are not allowed to purchase property in these regions.
CM Zoramthanga said "As far as the Citizenship Amendment Bill is concerned, the Home Minister has assured that a new clause (related to the inner line permit regime in Mizoram) will be incorporated in the draft bill. We will work this out with the Home Ministry." He also described his meeting with the Home Minister as "good" to the reporters.
Amit Shah was accompanied by Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Development of the North Eastern Region, and Himanta Biswa Sarma, chairman of the Northeast Democratic Alliance, in his first visit to Mizoram after becoming the Home Minister. It was at Mr Sarma's insistence that civil society groups decided to raise their concerns at the meeting with the Home Minister instead of holding protests.
Mizoram had earlier witnessed massive protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which seeks to expedite the citizenship process for non-Muslim migrants who arrived in India before December 31, 2014.
While opposition parties and social groups have termed it as a policy steeped in religious discrimination, the government maintains that it is simply a long-awaited measure to help persecuted minorities from neighbouring countries.
The conflict in Mizoram is over the inclusion of the Chakma community, which is believed to have migrated to the state from Bangladesh. A largely Buddhist group of about 1 lakh people, they have a history of ethnic conflict with the indigenous population over fears that their inclusion will endanger their identity and livelihoods.
The ruling BJP has said that the exercise of NRC will be undertaken across the country. At least 19 lakh people, including many Hindus, did not make it into Assam's National Register of Citizens list published on August 31.
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