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The All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) has welcomed chief minister Pema Khandu’s statement that the state government is totally against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and would join the other northeastern states in the protest against it.

“The AAPSU will continue its effort to urge the Centre to exempt the tribal states from the purview of the Bill,” AAPSU deputy spokesperson Nepha Wangsa said on Wednesday.

“We feel that the state machinery should work in tune with the chief minister to protect the interest and aspiration of the indigenous people of the state,” Wangsa added.

The AAPSU had earlier expressed dismay and anguish over the Bill that seeks to grant citizenship to people from communities like Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of shelter in India.

The AAPSU stated that it genuinely feels the Centre has not done the needful to understand the problems and the aspirations of the people from the state.

“It is indeed a matter of great worry that our culture, social structure and way of life remains unknown to the rest of the country despite more than 70 years of attaining independence. The proposed Bill is one among the latest examples that the lawmakers in our country have no or very little regard for the indigenous populace of Arunachal Pradesh and the entire North East,” Wangsa said.

The AAPSU, under the banner of NESO, has organised a few democratic movements in the State against the Bill.

“When the State is infested with illegal foreigners from erstwhile East Pakistan and present-day Bangladesh, it is not unknown to the masses that the people of Arunachal Pradesh under the banner of AAPSU have been democratically opposing the illegal settlement of Chakma and Hajong refugees in the state,” said Wangsa.

“The proposed Bill is an attempt to dump the burden of post-1971 Bangladesh liberation on the entire North East,” Wangsa added.

In addition to a few Chakma-Hajong families, who were initially settled by the government despite local objections, there are large unaccounted numbers of refugees who belong to Buddhist and Hindu religious groups.

The Bill, if passed, shall have large-scale ramifications for a 100 percent tribal State like Arunachal Pradesh, the deputy spokesperson added.

Damien Lepcha is Northeast Now Correspondent in Arunachal Pradesh. He can be reached at:

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