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As protest against Citizenship Bill intensify in NE , Rajnath tasked to hold talks
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As protest against Citizenship Bill intensify in NE , Rajnath tasked to hold talks

New Delhi, Feb 2 : The BJP and the central government's predicament over pushing the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is far from over and Union Minister Rajnath Singh has been tasked to address the concerns of the northeastern states by talking to all the Chief Ministers.

The protest against the Bill has reached the national capital already and on January 30 over 50 protesting students were detained by Delhi police. The first meeting convened by the Ministry of Home Affairs proposed on February 1 in Delhi could not take place as some of the Chief Ministers could not turn up.

Reports from various states suggest that the Chief Ministers are not yet able to enlist support of various stakeholders, especially NGOs and students who are protesting over the Bill.

"Things are turning serious and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is himself keen to resolve the matter.

In fact, Mr Modi is likely to visit north east on February 8," a source said even as there is no confirmation about the trip.

Most north east-based student organisations and political parties have stated in recent weeks that the judgement of the Supreme Court in the Sabananda Sonowal Vs Union of India in 2005 had made it clear that the presence of a large number of illegal migrants from Bangladesh is an act of 'external aggression'.

The draft law - now pending in the Rajya Sabha - envisages granting citizenship to 'persecuted' non-Muslims - Hindus, Christians, Jains, Parsis and others - who have entered India till December 31, 2014 from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of continuous stay in the country.

The stakeholders including BJP legislators in states like Meghalaya and Manipur have condemned the Modi government for its alleged 'undemocratic push' to pass the Bill in Lok Sabha on January 8 much against the strong opposition of the whole northeast.

The draft law threatens the 'very existence of the indigenous people' of northeast region as a whole, they have said.

A delegation comprising 12 political parties from Manipur arrived national capital to urge the central government not to pass the citizenship Bill or to exempt Manipur from Bill purview.

The decision to depute the delegation was taken during an all political party meeting convened by BJP chief minister N Biren Singh at Imphal.

Mr Singh and his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu held a separate meeting on Thursday.

The Manipur Chief Minister reportedly made it clear that his state be left 'out of the provisions' of the Citizenship Bill if it is to become a law during the ongoing Budget session.

Mr Khandu in a tweet on Friday, said, “Called on to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singhji yesterday (Thursday) and briefed about the concerns of North Eastern states regarding Citizenship Bill along with CM Manipur N Biren Singh ji”.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma too is in Delhi, sources said.

Chief ministers of Tripura, Assam, Nagaland and Mizoram would be arriving soon early next week.

From Mizoram, state Health Minister R. Thangliana, nominated by the Chief Minister Zoramthanga, would attend the meeting when it is held, sources said.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh has been tasked to meet the Chief Ministers and if necessary, other concerned to try pacify the leaders after 10 regional political parties, along with the BJP ally JD-U and all regional partners met in Guwahati to oppose the Bill.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Mr Sangma, who runs a coalition regime in the state, has been 'most vocal' against the Bill.

In Assam, BJP's ally AGP has already walked out of the alliance and backed the protest being pursued by at least 70 organisations in the state.(UNI)