Hope citizenship bill took care of NE people's fears: Sangma

Shillong, Dec 4 (PTI) Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Wednesday expressed hope that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which received the Union Cabinet nod earlier in the day, has addressed the concerns of northeast people.

Sangma, who is also the National People's Party (NPP) chief, said he met Union Home Minister Amit Shah at least on four occasions to brief him about the apprehensions of the region's indigenous people regarding the bill.

'We are yet to see the provisions of the bill that has been approved by the Cabinet. I hope the issues and concerns of the people of the Northeast, Meghalaya in particular, have been addressed in the legislation,' he told PTI on the sidelines of a programme here.

Shah, last week, met a state government delegation, led by the chief minister, and representatives of civil societies and student bodies, to discuss the contours of the bill before tabling it in the cabinet.

'Several issues surrounding the bill were raised at the meeting and the Home Minister gave clarifications to put the concerns of people to rest,' Sangma said.

According to the CM, not many were aware about the nitty-gritty of the legislation, when it was introduced in Parliament earlier this year, which, in turn, led to massive protests across the region.

'This time, the approach is different. The Centre has been communicating with the state government. I met the Union home minister more than four times to express the concerns of the Northeast people, Meghalaya specifically,' he added.

Paving the way for Parliament to take up the contentious bill, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the draft law that seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they faced religious persecution there. PTI JOP RMS RMS