Guwahati: In what is said to be a move aimed at dividing the North-Eastern states, at least three hills states which have Inner Line Permit (ILP) system, are likely to be exempted from the purview of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
Though the issue of the CAB did not figure in the meeting of the Business Advisory Committee of Lok Sabha, a delegation of senior BJP MPs from north-eastern states, which met Union home minister Amit Shah, claimed that they have been assured that the CAB will not be applicable in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram, which have the ILP system.
They are governed by the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) of 1873, under which, Indian nationals from other parts of the country have to possess an ILP while on a temporary visit.
Pleading anonymity, the MPs from the BJP-ruled states of the region said that they apprised Shah about the anguish and sentiments of the people over the Bill.
The proposed exemption to Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram from the CAB may also trigger a fresh controversy as other states of the region have been agitating for ILP system.
In 2018, the Manipur Assembly passed the Manipur People’s Protection Bill that seeks to expel people, who or whose forefathers, were living in the state before 1951.
In order to quell the growing ILP demand, the Meghalaya government recently passed an ordinance making registration on entry mandatory for visitors, who intend to spend more than 24 hours in the state.
The ordinance will become an amendment to the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, 2016, which was previously applicable only to tenants from outside the state. Under the Act, ‘entry-exit points’ will be set up along the border with Assam, the only state with which Meghalaya shares an internal border.
The CAB that has generated much heat in the region proposes to provide relief to those who have fled from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan because of religious persecution.
Sources engaged in the process pointed out that the government was working on the Bill and the Centre is considering introduction of Overseas Indian Card (OIC) in the Bill for Bengalis and others, who apply for citizenship under CAB.
There is also a proposal to change the cut-off date, which in the last Bill was December 31, 2014.
Sources did not rule out the possibility of another round of consultation on the CAB and also
huge protests in the region.