Monday, 30th October 2017

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Congress bins Zoramthanga claim

Congress said that political parties and churches never demanded exemption, but only asked the Centre not to introduce the bill

By Henry L. Khojol in Aizawl
  • Published 18.12.19, 2:22 AM
  • Updated 18.12.19, 2:22 AM
  • a min read
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Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga Telegraph file picture

The Opposition Congress on Tuesday came down heavily on chief minister Zoramthanga’s claim that his party, the Mizo National Front (MNF), had told its MP to vote in favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament because the Centre had exempted Mizoram according to the wishes of all political parties, NGOs, churches and student organisations.

The Congress said Zoramthanga, who is also the MNF president, was lying as political parties and churches never demanded exemption, but only asked the Centre not to introduce the bill.

In a statement, the Congress said the party had been strongly opposing the bill since it was introduced by former home minister Rajnath Singh in 2016 as it is “anti-secular” and against the basic principles of the Constitution.

“The main demand put forward by the Congress before the Centre was not to introduce the citizenship bill. The party did not demand that Mizoram should be exempted from the purview of the bill,” the statement said.

The Congress said the Mizoram Presbyterian Church of India, in its recently-concluded conference, passed a resolution opposing the bill and all members of the Church, at the behest of the Mizoram synod, sought divine intervention to stop the bill from getting passed.

“The Mizoram synod also decided to write to the Prime Minister and governors of different states regarding the bill. It has not thought of raising the ‘exemption’ demand,” the Congress said in the statement. The party called Zoramthanga a “liar” as he had promised to withdraw from the North East Democratic Alliance (Neda) if the Centre pushed to introduce the citizenship bill.

During a gathering at the MNF office here on Monday, Zoramthanga said his party had suggested that Mizoram’s lone Lok Sabha member, C. Lalrosanga, to vote in favour of the bill because the Centre had fulfilled the aspirations of the people. He said all had opposed the bill and demanded that Mizoram be exempted from the purview of the bill.

“Mizoram has no reason to oppose the amended law as it excluded the state according to the people’s wishes. It will be wrong and childish to oppose it again after the Centre met our demands,” Zoramthanga had said.

Owing to pressure from various organisations in the Northeast, Delhi has kept the inner-line and scheduled areas of the region out of the purview of the amended law.