Protest Over Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Arunachal

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Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh(PTI): Over 500 student activists today staged a three-hour sit-in at I G Park Tennis Court here to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

The members of All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU), with banners and placards in hand, raised slogans against the Centre, demanding immediate withdrawal of the bill.

The state’s apex body of students’ unions also appealed to people to join them in their protest against the proposed legislation, which aims to grant citizenship to people from minority communities of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, after six years of residence in India.

The AAPSU members submitted a memorandum to Governor Brig (Retd) B D Mishra, seeking his intervention into the matter.

The Centre has no regard for the indigenous people of the region, AAPSU President Hawa Bagang said.

“The proposed bill is one among the latest examples that show the lawmakers in our country have no or very little regard for the indigenous populace of Arunachal Pradesh and the entire northeast region,” he said.

The AAPSU will organize more such democratic movements, under the aegis of Northeast Students’ Organization, (NESO) in the interest of the indigenous people of the region, Bawang asserted.

The Bangladeshi refugees, who have been residing illegally in our state, will be asked to leave, he said.

“We will soon serve notices to all the Bangladeshis, who have sneaked into our state, after the National Register of Citizens (NRC) draft was released in Assam,” the AAPSU president stated.

The NRC was recently updated in Assam to document the “bonafide Indian citizens” living in the state.

Urging the state government to work for the interest of the state, the AAPSU president requested the Election Commission to delete all names of Chakma and Hajong refugees from the electoral rolls.

“We have even asked the people of the state to refrain from employing Chakma and Hajong refugees as domestic helps in their houses,” he added.

Talking to reporters, AAPSU general secretary Tabom Dai said that the union along with its federal units will intensify their protest if the Bill is not scrapped soon.

“The attitude of the successive governments at the Centre is that there is no state beyond West Bengal. It is very unfortunate I would like to request Chief Minister Pema Khandu to make his stance clear on the issue,” he said.

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