The BJP-led government in Manipur has decided to urge the Centre to exempt the state from the jurisdiction of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the latest northeast voice against the proposed legislation.
In a meeting chaired by Chief Minister N Biren Singh, the state cabinet Thursday decided to appeal to the Centre to allow it to not implement the proposed legislation, which was recently passed by Lok Sabha, a press release issued by the chief minister's secretariat said.
The reservation expressed by the BJP-led dispensation in the state against a bill proposed by the NDA assumes significance.
Many NDA allies in the northeast -- including the AGP in Assam, the MNF (ruling in Mizoram), the NPP (heading the coalition government with BJP in Meghalaya), the IPFT (partner in the government in Tripura) and the NDPP (heading coalition government with BJP in Nagaland) -- have already said they were not in agreement with the saffron party over the sensitive issue. The AGP has already quit the alliance.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill provides for according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India, instead of 12 years currently, even if they do not possess any document.
The state Cabinet also decided to urge the Centre and authorities concerned to give assent to the Manipur Peoples' (Protection) Bill, 2018 passed by the state assembly, the press release added.
The state bill passed on July 23, 2018, defines Manipuris and non-Manipuris and seeks to regulate their entry and exit to protect the interests and identity of the indigenous people.
According to the Bill, Manipuri included the Meiteis, the Pangal Muslims, Manipuri scheduled tribes listed under the Constitution and Indian nationals living in Manipur since before 1951.
Those who didn't fall under this umbrella were deemed non-Manipuris and were given a month to register themselves. Additionally, outsiders visiting the state would have to obtain an Inner Line Permit, a system that is in place in three other northeastern states-- Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.
The Manipur Congress is also against the Citizenship Amendment Bill. It has demanded the Manipur government convene a session of the assembly immediately to take a decision on it.