Bamang Felix
Arunachal Pradesh home minister Bamang Felix. Image credit - Northeast Now

Arunachal Pradesh home minister Bamang Felix on Tuesday met the members of various organizations and sought their opinions and suggestions on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).

Felix is the chairman of the consultative committee on the CAB.

Felix met the members of different civil societies and community based organizations (CBOs) at the Dorjee Khandu State Convention Centre in Itanagar.

Tuesday’s meeting was a part of the ongoing meetings of the consultative committee on the CAB, 2016 set up by the state government.

Expressing opinions and suggestions, all the organisations submitted representations to Felix expressing their strong opposition to the CAB and vowed to protect the rights of the indigenous people of the state.

In response to all the views and representations put forward by the AITF on behalf of the CBOs, Felix said the opinions of the stakeholders would be weighed and a decision would be taken accordingly.

Representatives of the CBOs attended the meeting under the umbrella of Arunachal Indigenous Tribes Forum (AITF).

Members of organisations such as Nefa Indigenous Human Rights Organisation, Arunachal Pradesh Women’s Welfare Society (APWWS) and Abotani Clan were also present.

Meanwhile, the APWWS said the CAB will affect the future generations of the state.

The women’s body in its representation stated that CAB discriminates against people on the basis of religion.

“The Indian Constitution does not discriminate against people based on religion. Therefore it’s a violation of the Indian constitution,” the APWWS mentioned in its letter.

“The Indian Constitution safeguards everyone, including the refugees; so there is no need to introduce a new law in favour of people who follow certain religions,” it added.

The society said the government of India has to be sensitive to the local issues as well.

The local dynamics are different in Arunachal. With the introduction of the CAB, there will be violence as people are deeply protective about their identity.

“There is already simmering anger against the Supreme Court’s decision to grant Indian citizenship to the Chakma and Hajong refugees. Any move to bolster the decision of the Supreme Court will result in violence,” it said.

Implementation of the Bill would mean that the roughly 100,000 Chakma, Tibetan and Hajong refugees would automatically become Indian citizens, the APWWS added.

“We see the CAB as a threat to the political future of the indigenous identity. Two parliamentary constituencies in the State are open seats, and therefore we have ample reason to justify our fear,” it said.

DAMIEN LEPCHA

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