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Northeast to be spared citizen bill: Kiren Rijiju

Narendra Modi had announced his govt would not bring in any law that goes against the interests of the people

By Damien Lepcha in Itanagar
  • Published 1.04.19, 4:49 AM
  • Updated 1.04.19, 4:49 AM
  • a min read
Union Minister Kiren Rijiju The Telegraph file picture

Union minister Kiren Rijiju on Sunday suggested that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which facilitates the grant of citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants from neighbouring countries, would not be implemented in the Northeast even if enforced in other regions.

“The Centre will not introduce any bill that harms the interests of the people of Arunachal Pradesh and the Northeast,” the junior home minister told reporters at the BJP headquarters here.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his speech at Aalo (in Arunachal on Thursday), announced his government would not bring in any law that goes against the interests of the people. Such a categorical statement by the Prime Minister means everything.”

Later, Rijiju added: “Even if the bill comes to (is enacted and implemented in) other states, it will not come to the Northeast.”

The bill shortens the waiting period for the grant of citizenship to illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan if they are Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian. It has generated a backlash in the Northeast, which has a problem of illegal influx from Bangladesh.

The Lok Sabha passed the bill in January but stiff resistance in Assam and other northeastern states dissuaded the Centre from tabling it in the Rajya Sabha.

Rijiju said: “If states like West Bengal want the bill and if Gujarat is supporting it, why should we oppose it? If Rajasthan wants to accept persecuted Christians, Hindus or Muslims, why should the people of the Northeast oppose it?”

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