Amid heated debate on plans to roll out the National Register of Citizens (NRC) across India, former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said that if the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill comes into effect, it will lead to a drastic change in the demography of the North-East region. He said that the "foreigners" staying across India will move to the North-East states for settlement. Sangma and other leaders met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on Saturday.
"Most of those who were foreigners and were staying in Assam have already migrated to various parts of India. You do not know how many foreigners are staying in the country and out of them how many are eligible to get citizenship if Citizenship Amendment Bill comes," said Sangma. He added, "They are likely to gravitate in the North-Eastern state and dilute the whole demography of the region. They will not gravitate in Rajasthan or Maharashtra."
Home Minister Amit Shah has been engaged in talks with members of political parties and civil society organisations from northeastern states over the Bill. Shah met leaders on Friday and Saturday while the third meeting is slated for Tuesday.This is being done as part of consultations with states where estimates of illegal migrants, especially from Bangladesh, are high.
Amit Shah has repeatedly informed the Parliament that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is important so that minorities like Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, Christian, and Parsi refugees fleeing discrimination from neighbouring Pakistan, Bangladesh or Afghanistan, obtain Indian citizenship. The Bill which was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8 this year, aims at granting citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31, 2014. The Bill has been opposed by nativist groups opposed to granting citizenship to refugees fearing economic imbalance in their areas.
(With ANI inputs)