Pawndum protest against CAB to greet Shah in Mizoram

Union Home Minister Amit Shah (PTI Photo)

When home minister Amit Shah visits Mizoram on October 5 to inaugurate Northeast handloom expo, many Mizos will wear Pawndum, a traditional shawl worn during mourning to oppose Centre's move to re-introduce Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the next session of the Parliament.

The influential NGO Co-ordination Committee, an umbrella body of NGOs and other civil society organisations announced that the protesters wearing pawndum will line up on both sides of the road from Aizawl airport to the city to greet Shah's cavalcade in order to express their anguish or lament.

"We have nothing personal against the home minister but we just want to convey our strong opposition and anger to the Centre against the proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act," Vanlalruata, chairman of the NGO Co-ordination Committee told reporters in Aizawl on Monday.

Indigenous communities in the Northeast including Mizoram are against the Centre's move to re-introduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that seeks to allow non-Muslim migrants, who fled Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 due to religious persecution. Ethnic communities demanded that the Northeast fears that citizenship to "large number of illegal migrants" will reduce them into minorities.

Mizos claim that many belonging to Chakma community will get citizenship if the bill is passed. 

Chief Ministers of Mizoram, Meghalaya and Nagaland had requested Shah on September 9 to exempt the Northeast from the ambit of the bill. Shah told the chief ministers of the Northeast in Guwahati that Centre would go ahead with the bill without affecting the exisiting protection mechanism for the region's ethnic communities.

Mizoram unit of BJP appealed the protestors to withdraw their plan and instead meet Shah to discuss the concerns regarding the citizenship bill. The party said Shah will visit the state to allay fears about the bill. 

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