Govt Resolution passed urging centre to exempt entire state from CAA

Shillong, Mar 16: The Meghalaya Legislative Assembly on Monday passed a government resolution urging the Government of India to exempt the entire state including the areas not under the 6th schedule from the Citizens Amendment Act, 2019.

The resolution was moved on the second day of the Budget Session 2020 by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma who is also in-charge of the Political Department.

According to the Chief Minister, the resolution was moved in order to protect and safe guard the interests of the tribal population of the state.

The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 which was passed on December 12 of last year applies to areas in the state which is not under the 6th schedule of the constitution.

This includes the municipality of Shillong as defined in Paragraph 20 of the 6th schedule to the constitution, which is approximately 2 Square kilo meter out of the 23,000 Sq kms in the state and it includes 4 wards out of the 27 wards in the municipal area.

“Shillong municipal has 27 wards out of which 23 are under 6th schedule of the constitution. 4 wards namely ward 7, 8, 9, 10 covering approximately an area of 2 Sq kms are outside the purview of the 6th schedule which comes to about 0.0001% of the entire state unlike what was earlier presumed to be 3%,” the Chief Minister said.

Replying to questions by the opposition on why a resolution rejecting CAA as a whole was not moved in the assembly, the Chief Minister said that the state is constitutionally not in a position to reject a law passed by the parliament.

“However, we can urge government to exempt us from the concerned act,” he said, adding that since the act was passed not a single person has applied for citizenship to the state under the act.

Congress MLA raised the issue of few wards being placed outside the 6th schedule and claimed that it created a divide in Shillong city. Replying to the same, BJP MLA from Shillong South Constituency Sanbor Shullai said that the cantonment area and the European ward were outside the purview of 6th schedule since 1952 and that it was not a new thing. “It’s not that the two areas were recently kept outside,” he quipped.

Leader of Opposition, Mukul Sangma said that the Union Government and the party in Delhi have been successful in diving the people of North East. “We are speaking on our respective behalf now. We are not echoing a collective voice on behalf of people of the region as a whole. A very dangerous precedence has set it with the coming of this act,” Sangma claimed.

Meanwhile, Congress MLA George B Lyngdoh stated that the resolution was just a “cosmetic procedure” and that the move doesn’t address the real implications of the Act. He urged the assembly to demand the centre to repeal CAA.

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