The Arunachal Congress and Arunachal Civil Society (ACS) have threatened to launch protests if the Central government goes ahead with the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to provide citizenship to migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who are of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian extraction.
The Central government is planning to re-introduce the contentious Bill in the winter session of the parliament which is expected to start from November 18 next.
Demanding immediate scrapping of the Bill, State Congress general secretary, Mina Toko, said “the Government of India in the name of religious persecution should not give legitimacy to foreigners at the cost of indigenous citizens of north eastern states.”
“The introduction of CAB will threaten the very existence of the already fragile indigenous tribes of Arunachal Pradesh, the State, which assimilated with mainstream India as late as 1972 when it was transferred from the North-East Frontier Agency,” Toko said.
He called upon the lawmakers from the Northeast to oppose the Bill with all their might.
We also urge all the chief ministers of northeastern states to unite and represent the cause of the region with the Centre.
Most importantly we request chief minister Pema Khandu to vehemently oppose the CAB for the sake of the indigenous community and people of Arunachal Pradesh, the Congress said.
“If the Bill is implemented, the APCC along with all likeminded NGOs, unions, political parties and the people of North East will be forced to come to the streets,” the Congress cautioned.
ACS chairman Patey Tayum said “if the Bill is passed in the upcoming session then it would definitely have a terrible impact in a state like Arunachal Pradesh.”
The Bill will change the entire demography of Arunachal Pradesh where 98 percent of its population is indigenous.
He said more than a lakh of Chakma & Hajong and Tibetan refugees as well as other non-Arunachalees who are mostly Hindu and Buddhist immigrants have already been living in the State for many decades.
Tayum said that there is a sense of fear amongst the local denizens that these immigrants may overshadow the indigenous people in terms of population in the years to come.
“Our only hope now is the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 as if CAB is implemented it will directly wipe-out the Assam Accord of 1985.
“The recent resolution taken by the State government on not granting permanent residential certificate to non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes,” the society said.
CAB will automatically entitle the non-APSTs settled in the State to avail PRC because as per the condition of the Bill one has to be residing in the country for at least 6 years to get citizenship, whereas in Arunachal there are thousands of non-APSTs who have been living here for decades, the ACS added.
The society has further appealed the State government to strongly oppose the Bill in the proposed all-party meeting to be held on November 4.