Amit Shah rallying North East States for CAB?

Amit Shah rallying North East States for acceptance of Citizenship Amendment Bill,Mizoram Civil Society satisfied with assurance from Amit Shah on CAB,Inner Line Permit ( ILP) system will be strengthened in CAB legislation,Winning over North East States one by one,Citizenship Amendment Bill may be placed in Next session of Parliament

        Citizenship Amendment Bill has become most controversial in the recent past. In the earlier Lok Sabha , it was passed with overwhelming majority but could not get through in Rajya Sabha. Hence, it was lapsed. But BJP promised in 2019 Lok Sabha elections and included it in election manifesto. However, implementation of the same looks very difficult till now. BJP ally, JD(U) is strongly opposing. Neutral parties like TRS, YSRCP may not support the Bill keeping an eye on Muslim vote bank. More than this, entire North East with one voice raising their voice against the proposed CAB. In the first session of present Lok Sabha, it was pushed to back benches. Everyone thought that it went cold storage.

         Secondly, the experience of implementation of NRC in Assam has attracted lot of criticism from supporters of BJP itself. Lakhs of illegal immigrants migrated from Bangladesh and settled in lower Assam border districts were able to manage entry into NRC whereas genuine citizens were excluded due to their inability to show any proof. This proved that verification process is favourite to the people who can manage/manipulate the system whereas it is hell to the people who are unable to manage. Thousands of crores were spent for this faulty exercise. After this bitter episode, everybody thought that there will be rethinking in the minds of BJP leadership. But it is otherwise.

           Amit Shah, President of BJP and Home Minister of the country emphasised the need of NRC along with CAB. He openly told that National Register of Citizens will be extended to whole country and CAB will also be brought simultaneously. Despite his repeated statements, observers were under impression that it will not be implemented due to stiff opposition from allies as well as North Eastern States. Last week, Amit Shah visited Mizoram , the State which is vehemently opposing NRC and CAB. The people in Mizoram belong to Christian faith overwhelmingly approximately 91 to 92%. They have apprehensions that NRC and CAB may bring influx of several refugees basically Hindus into Mizoram thereby change demography of the State. Initially civil society of Mizoram thought of protest rallies against Amit Shah visit but changed their mind and decided to meet Amit Shah explaining their objection to the introduction of CAB. It seems that their interaction with Amit Shah yielded fruits. Amit Shah assured all of them that their concern will be addressed suitably.

            Mizoram State is now governed by Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 which is operational in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. Of course, the terms of reference to each state differ. Broadly, it says that any outsider wanted to visit the protected areas of state should obtain ' inner line permit' for temporary period from Government of India. This ILP system was brought in by British in 1873 and it follows till now to protect the the tribal character of the people. Amit Shah assured the civil society and state Government that proposed CAB will take care of this ILP system. He further promised that a battalion of CRPF will be raised from local Mizo people to safeguard borders of Bangladesh and Myanmar. Mizoram and Nagaland are overwhelmingly Christian States. Arunachal Pradesh is now half the population christians due to massive conversions took place recently. Manipur in fact wanted NRC. The only other State opposing vehemently NRC and CAB is Meghalaya which is also dominated by Christianity and tribal population. The concern of this State is yet to be addressed. Major problem still lies with Assam. Though NRC process is almost completed, it is not acceptable to any party including BJP and AGP. At the same time, bringing CAB is dividing BJP and AGP. Still BJP is bent upon implementation of CAB.

           The scenario is slowly changing. Initially, all NE States student organisations formed united front to fight implementation of CAB. Now, with the present assurance from Amit Shah , there may not be stiff resistance from Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. That means half the resistance is diluted. The remaining States also may be tackled soon before re-introduction of CAB in Parliament. Once, the toughest challenge from North East is tackled, it may not be difficult to BJP to convince its allies. That is BJP. It knows the art of managing and measuring the things. Let us wait and watch for next session of Lok Sabha.



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