The five-party coalition government in Meghalaya has unanimously opposed the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016. This decision was taken in a cabinet meeting on May 08. It may be mentioned here that the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) will be in Meghalaya on May 10 and 11 for the hearing on the Bill.
At a time, when the government of Assam as well as the opposition is taking varied stands on the Citizenship Amendment Bill, the Meghalaya Government’s decision to oppose the bill shows their dedication towards protecting the rights of the indigenous people.
A BJP minister was also present at the cabinet meeting, where it was decided to oppose the bill. What has become a matter of concern is that at a time when the coalition government of Meghalaya, which includes the BJP, is going against the centre over the Citizenship Amendment Bill, the Assam Government stands in support of it with BJP’s ally AGP taking a stand against the Bill.
It must be noted that Assam is the second most affected state in the northeast by illegal Bangladeshi immigration, after Tripura; however, the government’s decision to grant citizenship to Bangladeshi Hindus have led to an uproar across the state.
Meghalaya Deputy CM informed that the state government has strictly opposed two sections of the Bill; firstly, that foreigners who came before December 31, 2014 illegally shall not be deported and secondly, decreasing the minimum term of residence required for granting Indian citizenship.
Several organisations of Meghalaya have welcomed this decision of the state government.