SHILLONG: A new ‘Citizenship (Amendment) Bill based on religion undermines the secular fabric of India, say several groups in the North east. In Shillong, the issue has stirred up several indigenous groups. They have strongly opposed the move of the Centre to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who belong to six communities viz Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship of India.
The Hynniewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF) has stated that the danger of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016is that it will encourage people to convert religions just to get Indian citizenship.
The HNYF had extended its support to the opposition against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and will join the sit-in-demonstration called by the Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP) on Thursday, May 10.
“We will be physically extending our support to the sit-in demonstration organised by the FKJGP tomorrow,” HNYF office secretary Donbok Dkhar said on Wednesday.
The protest will be held during the two-day visit of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to solicit views from the state government and stakeholders of the state. The Committee members will be holding a meeting on Thursday.
The proposed move by the social activists also got a further boost following Tuesday’s decision of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government led by the National People’s Party (NPP) to say “No” to the Bill proposed by the Centre.
All have strongly opposed the move of the Centre to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who belong to six communities viz Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship of India.
In a memorandum submitted to the Deputy Commissioner of East Khasi Hills District PS Dkhar here to inform their participation in the protest, the HNYF said that the Bill intends to grant citizenship status to illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
According to the organization, the idea of granting citizenship status on the basis of religion (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christians) defeats secularism as enshrined in the Constitution of India.
“It will encourage the practice of dual citizenship because the intention of the Indian government is to indiscriminately naturalize the illegal migrants from the said countries in India,” Dkhar said in the letter.
He warned that in no time India will become a land of refugees because for many reasons people of other religions will convert themselves just to get Indian Citizenship.