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CAB: Centre holds meet of top officials to review security in Northeast

By PTI Updated: Nov 25, 2019 11:55 pm

New Delhi, Nov. 25 (PTI): The Centre on Monday reviewed the security situation in the Northeastern states which have witnessed protests in the past few weeks over the move to amend the Citizenship Act to grant Indian nationality to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, officials said.

Heads of state intelligence agencies of all Northeastern states, Assam Rifles and paramilitary forces attended the meeting which was chaired by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.

The meeting, convened by the National Security Council Secretariat, which is headed by Doval, analysed the intelligence inputs coming from the ground with regard to opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, a security official said.

The top officials gave detailed presentations on the findings of their respective organisations about the protests and people’s approach towards the proposed legislation.

The bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 in order to grant Indian nationality to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who come to India after facing religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan even if they don’t possess proper documents.

This was an election promise of the BJP in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

A large section of people and organisations in the Northeast have opposed the bill, saying it will nullify the provisions of the Assam Accord of 1985, which fixed March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date for deportation of all illegal immigrants irrespective of religion.

The Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPI(M) and a few other parties have been steadfastly opposing the bill, claiming that citizenship can’t be given on the basis of religion.

The BJP-led NDA government had introduced the bill in its previous tenure and got the Lok Sabha’s approval. But the government did not introduce it in the Rajya Sabha, apparently due to vehement protests in the Northeast.

The bill had lapsed following the dissolution of the last Lok Sabha.

As per the earlier bill, those who have entered India on or before December 31, 2014, are eligible to get the benefits after it becomes an act.

There is a possibility of changes in the cut-off date too, another official said.

The Modi government has listed the bill in its items of business for the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament and is set to push for its passage.

The BJP and its Hindutva affiliates have insisted that minorities, of whom Hindus are in overwhelming numbers, from the three countries should be granted Indian citizenship.

By PTI Updated: Nov 25, 2019 11:55:09 pm