Praising Meghalaya Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma for his “bold stand” against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, United Liberation Front of Asom’s (ULFA) pro-talk faction’s General Secretary, Anup Chetia on Tuesday urged the people of the northeastern states to stand united in opposing the Bill.
“The people of the region should stand united as one in opposing the amendment bill. We have to oppose the bill since the BJP and RSS are trying to finish our indigenous identity and culture only to serve its political interest,” he told journalists here after meeting Chief Sangma.
Eulogising Sangma for opposing the Bill, Chetia said the people of the entire northeastern appreciated Sangma’s stand as it is very encouraging especially to the people of Assam.
“We came here to congratulate him. We need leaders like Conrad not only in Meghalaya but in the whole North Eastern Region. We are still standing against the Citizenship Bill and will go against it along with the people of Assam and also with the help of people of the region as a whole,” Chetia said.
The top ULFA insurgent leader, who is also the convener of the North East Indigenous People’s Forum (NEIPF), warned the central government not t o go ahead with the Bill as people in the northeastern region are strongly o pposing the Bill.
“We at the NEIPF had voiced our concern to the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Bill. We have told them that if they go ahead with the Bill t he situation would be worse not only in Assam but all over the Northeast reg ion. We would continue to fight aggressively to ensure that the Centre does n ot pass the bill,” Chetia said.
Several northeast-based political parties, including the opposition Congress party has strongly opposed the Bill.
The Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government, which the BJP is part of the ruling coalition, is the first government to have rejected the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
On the growing demand for implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) system t o restrict entry of outsiders in Meghalaya, Chetia said, “We are not discussing ILP because there is some problem in Assam. Implementation of ILP is a big problem, but I think in Meghalaya it can be implemented.”
Chetia formed the Meghalaya chapter of NEIPF and vowed to work for safeguarding the indigenous people in the whole North Eastern Region.
Three organisations in Meghalaya, the Federation of Khasi Jaitia and Garo People, Hynniewtrep Youth Front and Ri Bhoi Youth Federation are part of the NEIPF Meghalaya chapter.