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BJP appeals to NGOs to withdraw protest during Amit Shah's visit

Shah is visiting Mizoram on October 5, his first after assuming charge of the ministry.

Oct 03, 2019, 09.34 AM IST
Guwahati: The Mizoram unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has appealed to the NGO Coordination Committee to cancel its protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill during Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s upcoming visit to the state.

Shah is visiting Mizoram on October 5, his first after assuming charge of the ministry. The trip is being seen as an attempt to reach out to the people prior to the introduction of the proposed Bill.

The NGO co-ordination committee, which is a clutch of several civil society organisations, said it would hold a protest programme on October 5, with the general secretary of the committee, Lalhmachhuana, urging people to wear black shawls and carry placards in protest during Shah’s visit.

Mizoram BJP state unit president JV Hluna told ET, “We have appealed to the NGOs to withdraw the protest programme and sit for dialogue.”

He added that the committee should take advantage of Shah’s visit to discuss problems faced by the state, including the border issue with Assam, repatriation of the Brus, development of National Highway 54 and Lengpui airport.

“If the NGO Coordination Committee fears that the Union Home Minister will push for the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, it is good to have a dialogue rather than protesting the visit,” he said.

State BJP vice-president Judy Zohmingliani said that even if the Bill is implemented, it will not affect Mizoram’s special status. The BJP has said that the Bill is being drafted and will be introduced in Parliament after consultation with all stakeholders in November.

Mizoram has witnessed sustained resistance to Bill, with the NGO Coordination Committee boycotting the Republic Day celebrations in the state in protest.

Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga, while speaking at the NEDA conclave in Guwahati on September 9, said the Bill was a very sensitive issue.

“Regional parties who supported the Bill are on the verge of political suicide. Northeast India, being bordering states, is vulnerable and it must be seen if the Bill is taken up minus north eastern states,” he had said.

Shah has said that the Bill would be introduced in the next session of parliament, with new features, and the cut-off date would be December 31, 2014. Buddhists, Jains, Christians, Sikhs and Parsis who had come to India prior to that date would be eligible for Indian citizenship.

Meanwhile, North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma is also expected to visit the state on October 4.

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