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‘Special’ Arunachal Cabinet meet to discuss citizenship Bill

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu addressing a National Press Day function at Namsai on Saturday. – Photo: Correspondent
 ITANAGAR, Nov 16 - Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu today said that he would convene a ‘special’ Cabinet meeting on November 18 to discuss the report of the State Government-constituted Consultative Committee on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

Khandu assured the people of the State that his Government would send its recommendations to the Centre on the Bill, keeping in mind the special provisions of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR), 1873, which protect the interests of the indigenous people of the State. He made the statement during his address on the occasion of the National Press Day celebration at Namsai, around 320 km from Itanagar.

“The Consultative Committee on CAB constituted by the Arunachal Government has completed its task of taking opinions by holding a series of consultations with various stakeholders, including political parties, community-based organisations, NGOs, students and youth organisations, and I have been told that the report is ready to be placed before the State Government,” the Chief Minister said.

“I shall convene a special Cabinet meeting on Monday to discuss the report and then send recommendations to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA),” said Khandu, who is on a week-long tour to districts of the State.

Stating that Union Home Minister Amit Shah has already assured that the North East, including the States where the Inner Line Permit system is in force, would not be affected by the CAB, the Chief Minister assured that his Government would send “good recommendations” to the MHA in the interest of the indigenous people of Arunachal Pradesh.

“I want to assure all people of Arunachal Pradesh that the State government will send good recommendations to the Central Government considering the tribal identity of the State and the BEFR provisions,” Khandu stated.

It may be mentioned that all stakeholders, including political parties, CBOs and student bodies, had vehemently opposed the CAB in the meetings held by the consultative committee recently.

The proposed Bill is likely to be tabled in Parliament during the winter session commencing on Monday. Notably, on the same day, the top student bodies of Northeastern States under the banner of North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) are scheduled to stage protests in the State capitals against the Bill.

The contentious Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted religious minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

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