Exempt whole of Meghalaya, Assam from CAA: Sangma

Abhishek Saha
Citizenship Amendment Act, CAA, CAA protests, Assam CAA protests, CAA protests Assam, Conrad Sangma, Conrad Sangma on CAA, India news, Indian Express

Speaking at the 15th annual general conference of the Council of Nokmas at Jengjal in West Garo Hills, Sangma thanked the Union government for exemptions accorded to parts of Meghalaya but said that his demand of exemption to the entire state still stands. (File Photo)

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Saturday emphasised the need to exempt Assam and the whole of Meghalaya from the ambit of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, even as protests against the new law continued in Assam with massive demonstrations.

Conrad, whose National People’s Party is an ally of the BJP in Meghalaya, has been vocal about protection of rights of the people of Meghalaya in the light of the amended citizenship law.

The CAA, in its current form, exempts a large part of Meghalaya, as practically the entire state falls under the ambit of the Sixth Schedule.

Speaking at the 15th annual general conference of the Council of Nokmas at Jengjal in West Garo Hills, Sangma thanked the Union government for exemptions accorded to parts of Meghalaya but said that his demand of exemption to the entire state still stands. He also said, “Assam was not exempted (from CAA). We are firm even now and our demand still stands with the Government of India — even Assam must be exempted from this Act.”

If possible, he said, “different protections” must be given to the people of Assam.

Sangma also demanded that the Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime should be implemented in Meghalaya. Stating that he has put this demand before the Centre, the Meghalaya CM said, “We have passed a resolution in Assembly that ILP must be implemented in the state. We feel the people of Assam also need similar protection. Therefore we urge GoI that the whole state of Meghalaya must be exempted [from CAA], ILP should be put in Meghalaya, and it should also be extended to the state of Assam.”

New political party needed: Cong leader

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and former CM Tarun Gogoi on Saturday said that a new political party has become a necessity in Assam to oust the ruling BJP in the state. “A political party has become a necessity now to oust BJP. We are not selfishly looking after our own interests because a new political party might inflict some damage on our party as well. We are trying to protect the interests of the people of Assam,” he tweeted.

Gogoi’s remarks come days after the All Assam Students’ Union suggested that a new political alternative was inevitable.

Responding to Gogoi’s remarks, Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “Your agony is understandable Tarun Gogoi... BJP has become a formidable force and Congress is no longer capable of taking on the might, and our growing popularity in Assam with Narendra Modi at the helm. New outfit is surely something you could try...”