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SHILLONG: The North East Indigenous People’s Forum (NEIPF) Meghalaya Chapter on Monday accused the Centre of playing the divide-and-rule game in the North East over the Citizens (Amendment) Bill while asking Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma to continue to oppose it.
“We condemn the statement of the Union Home Minister that the government will consider exempting Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram from the purview of the CAB. This clearly reflects the attempt of the Centre to divide the people of the region. If there is an exemption it should be applicable in the entire region,” NEIPF Meghalaya Chapter chairman, Wellbirth Rani, told reporters here after a meeting.
He also said the NEIPF will be officially submitting a memorandum to the chief minister urging him to continue to oppose the CAB.
Rani, who is also the president of the Federation of Khasi Jaintia Garo People (FKJGP), observed that Sangma’s views on CAB have softened following his meeting with the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah.
“It now looks like the chief minister is convinced after the assurance of Union Home Minister to hold consultations on the CAB. He (Conrad) should realise that CAB is a threat to the indigenous communities of the Northeastern region,” Rani said.
Rani also urged the state government to implement NRC in the state. “We should insist that NRC be implemented in Meghalaya since we do not have ILP like some other states in the region,” he said.
He further said that the NEIPF Meghalaya Chapter will take part in the day-long North East wide protest organised by NESO on November 18.
Amit Shah visit
Meanwhile the chief minister on Monday said the state government has invited the Union Home Minister to inaugurate the Ri Bhoi Police Academy.
The chief minister told reporters a response was awaited. “I presume when he visits the state, he would use the opportunity to discuss about CAB with political parties, NGOs, government and other stakeholders,” the chief minister said while underlining the importance of understanding people’s concerns about it.
“It’s important to go into the details and the next step will be to discuss the concerns,” he said while adding that the state government wants to ensure that there is proper dialogue and discussion on the bill.
Sangma also said that if the minister does not visit the state, there is a possibility that a delegation of the stakeholders, including NGOs and others, may go to New Delhi to discuss the matter.
The chief minister had recently impressed upon the Union Home Minister the need for proper consultation to which the former had agreed and also asked the state government to initiate steps to coordinate with the Centre in this regard.
There is huge opposition to the CAB in the North East from various quarters, including the state government.