Exempt entire North East from purview of Amended Citizenship Act: Agatha to PM

The curfew imposed in parts of Shillong following violent protests was relaxed on Friday for 12 hours.

National People’s Party (NPP) leader Agatha K Sangma has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to exempt the entire North East from the purview of the Amended Citizenship Act to ensure that peace returns to the region.

The Tura MP had written a letter to the prime minister on Thursday night demanding that the entire North East be exempted from the purview of the Act.

According to the Act, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.

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“The North East is a complex region that needs a holistic protection, the government must revisit the CAB and exempt the entire region from its purview. This is the only way peace and confidence can be built among our people,” Agatha said in a letter to Modi.

She said the CAB has been vehemently opposed by the people of the North East because they fear demographic changes will impact and affect the security and identity of the local tribals of the region.

Agatha, a former Union minister said, “Efforts made through long hours of consultations are going futile and the narrative that is being given out is that the BJP-led government is anti-North East.”

The BJP is part of the NPP led coalition government in Meghalaya. The letter was shot off to the prime minister even as her brother and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma and his cabinet colleagues are scheduled to meet Amit Shah on the same.

Meanwhile, the curfew imposed in parts of Shillong following violent protests was relaxed on Friday for 12 hours, beginning at 10 am, with no untoward incident being reported from the areas.

Curfew was imposed on Thursday night in areas under Sadar and Lumdiengjri police station limits, which comprise at least 20 neighbourhoods of North Shillong and Mawprem after several vehicles and building were vandalised in the Meghalaya capital amid protests against the new law.

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