A day after the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was passed in Lok Sabha, the Meghalaya cabinet on Tuesday decided to approach the Centre for taking more strong measures to protect the state.
The state cabinet also defended the stand taken by Tura MP, Agatha K Sangma in the Parliament regarding the bill.
“We will apprise the union home minister, Amit Shah and the government of India as a whole on the need to have more strong measures to address concerns of the state,” chief minister Conrad Sangma told reporters after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday evening.
Stating that the CAB has been a matter of concern since last year as there was no discussion and consultations, Sangma said now the Centre has brought in some provisions in the amendment bill addressing the concerns related to the state.
“However, we want more measures, and we will approach the Centre on this, as well the governor to approve an ordinance related to the amendment of the Meghalaya Resident Safety Security Act, 2016,” he said.
The ordinance was approved by the state cabinet seeking mandatory registration of people from outside who visit Meghalaya.
He said most of the areas in the state are exempted from the present CAB which has changed from the earlier CAB which was tabled in Lok Sabha in 2016.
“Therefore, the MDA government as a whole has agreed to urge the Union government to consider the request of the state government to have more measures that will address concerns of the state.”
“We all agreed that whatever the case may be, we will work in unison as coalition partners,” Sangma said.
On the stand of Tura MP, Agatha K Sangma, who supported the CAB in Lok Sabha, the chief minister said Agatha supported as certain provisions have been incorporated in the present CAB.
He said Agatha was very clear that “we want more provisions to ensure that more insulation is done with this bill, and there are many ways in which the government of India can give more protection to the people of Meghalaya and the Northeast as a whole.”
Allaying the fear that Bangladeshis would be flooded, the CM said nothing such would happen as the power lies with the state government to decide on the applications related to citizenship with the cut off year date of December 31, 2014.
On the allegations that the Tura MP has betrayed the state by supporting the CAB, Sangma said, “It depends on how one looks at it. We need to get to the facts. It is an emotional issue and we respect the emotion.”
Meanwhile, the state cabinet also decided to recommend to the governor, Tathagatha Roy, to approve the imposition of Administrator’s Rule in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) on the ground of instability and fluid political situation in the council.
“We have seen a few days ago, there were certain numbers on one side, and later the numbers changed,” Sangma said.