Aizawl, Feb 12 The Mizoram cabinet voiced strong opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill Tuesday, and said it would work to defeat the contentious legislation in the Rajya Sabha.
The cabinet meeting, chaired by chief minister Zoramthanga, said that the government and the people of Mizoram vehemently oppose the bill, said an official statement here.
Mizoram is ruled by Mizo National Front (MNF), a BJP ally in the North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
The state cabinet on December 18 last had expressed its objection to the bill which promises to provide Indian citizenship to religious minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India, instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document.
Meanwhile, members of civil organisations and student bodies staged protests in capital Aizawl and other towns across Mizoram amid information that the proposed bill has been listed for deliberations in the Upper House Tuesday.
NGO Coordination Committee, an umbrella organisation of civil societies and student bodies, had called for observing a 'Black Day' over the bill Tuesday and asked the people to organise protest rallies across the state.
The chief minister has met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and expressed in strong terms that Mizoram opposes the bill, the statement said.
Zoramthanga had also made the stance of Mizoram clear in the meeting of political parties of the north-east recently at Guwahati over the contentious issue.
The Mizoram cabinet vowed to continue its opposition to the bill and work for its defeat in the Parliament, the statement said.
At a protest rally in the capital, NGO Coordination Committee Chairman Vanlalruata said, "Government of India, please retrospect those days of your struggle for freedom. You didn't like oppression, suppression neither we. You fight till you are free, we will also do as you do, we only repeat what you did. Please remember we are Mizo by blood and Indian by laws."
President of Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) or Mizo students federation L Ramdinliana Renthlei said if the Citizenship Bill is passed by the Parliament, "the Mizo youths would have no choice but to declare freedom".
The civil societies felt that the proposed bill would endanger the very existence of the Mizos, as the passage of the legislation would grant citizenship to around a lakh of the Buddhist Chakma populace who are mainly immigrants from Bangladesh (erstwhile East Pakistan). HCV SNS IND IND