Chief minister Pema Khandu-led Arunachal Pradesh government has decided to constitute a consultative committee to safeguard the rights of indigenous people of the state in view of the Centre’s decision to amend the citizenship law through the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB).
Chief minister Khandu said this on Saturday in a programme organised as part of the celebrations of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi at Yingkiong in the Upper Siang district.
Khandu said the committee will bring together all community based organizations, civil society groups and student unions for consultation on the Citizenship Bill.
“The committee will take inputs from these groups on adding safeguards to the proposed CAB so that protections given to the tribal people of the state under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873 and Chin Hill Regulations Act, 1896 are not diluted,” he said.
The chief minister said the committee will also be responsible for interpreting the various provisions of CAB and to add clauses for protection of Arunachali people.
Khnadu referred to Union home minister Amit Shah’s assurance during the last meeting of the North East Democratic Alliance that the CAB would not override any provisions protecting the rights of the tribal people of the region for decades.
“The State government had earlier opposed the CAB and made it clear that the Bill should not be tabled in the Parliament without adequately addressing the concerns of the indigenous people of Arunachal Pradesh,” Khandu said.
The Bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who entered India before December 31, 2014, lapsed earlier this year after the government failed to table it in the Rajya Sabha.
The Bill had triggered widespread protests across the Northeast at the beginning of the year.