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BJP-backed Meghalaya government opposes Citizenship Bill

Shillong, Jan 8 (IANS) The BJP-backed Conrad Sangma government in Meghalaya on Monday said that it will stick to its stand to oppose the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that aims to give citizenship to illegal migrants of six religious minority groups from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Senior BJP legislator and Health and Family Welfare Minister, Alexander Hek said that he also stands by the cabinet decision of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government which had unanimously adopted to oppose the Bill.

"There is no confusion about our stand and we were the first state government and state cabinet to come out with an official resolution within the cabinet that we are against the bill," Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma told journalists.

The Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government is led by the National People's Party and supported by United Democratic Party, Bharatiya Janata Party, Hill State People's Democratic Party, People's Democratic Front and Nationalist Congress Party.

Asked if the NPP will put out of the BJP-led NDA government, Sangma said: "We have been very clear to the NDA that this is something we will not support. We will see when the time comes, but as of now, we have made our stand clear that we are not supporting the amendment bill."

"We (government) have opposed the controversial bill through a cabinet decision, the most aggressive stand that any government has taken," the Chief Minister said.

AOn the demand of a civil society group to severe ties with the BJP in the state, he said, "the same minister (Hek from the BJP) is in the cabinet and supported the resolution of the cabinet not to accept but reject the amendment bill."

"He (Hek) may be part of the BJP, but he has said it clearly during the Cabinet meeting that for me, protection of my people and my state is priority. I think one should be happy that a person from a particular party, puts the citizens and the people first," Sangma said.

On the shutdown called by North East Student's Organisation, Sangma said: "The organization is going ahead with their action a. Our stand is very clear, and therefore there should not be any ambiguity or confusion among the people or among the NESO members about the stand of the Meghalaya government."

Assembly Speaker and United Democratic Party president, Donkupar Roy said that the party strongly opposes Citizenship (Amendment) Bill saying that Bill will not protect and safeguard the ethnic communities in the region.

--IANS

rrk/pgh/


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