Mizoram BJP threatens to dissolve state unit

Mizoram BJP president J V Hluna (centre) in Aizawl on Tuesday. Photo by Henry B Khojol

The BJP on Tuesday got a warning from its Mizoram unit, which threatened to dissolve itself if the NDA’s Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is passed.

Meghalaya unit of the saffron party also called the bill “harmful” for the Northeast and said, “it could be food for some others, but poison for the region.”

J V Hluna, president of Mizoram unit of the BJP told reporters in Aizawl that he had requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to either withdraw it or keep the Northeast out of its purview. He also announced to support the NGOs in the state leading an agitation against the bill.

“The BJP state unit was formed to safeguard the interests of the people of Mizoram. If the central leadership decides to go ahead with the amendment, the state unit would have no option but to dissolve itself," Hluna said.

The bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8 but remained pending in the Rajya Sabha.

The Northeast roared in protest against the bill that seeks to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 to allow “persecuted minorities” from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan such as Hindus, Christians, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Sikhs to apply for Indian citizenship, after a stay of six years. The indigenous people in the region fear that they would be reduced into minorities and would become politically weak if “a large number of illegal migrants” are given citizenship.

The influential NGOs in Mizoram had boycotted the Republic Day celebrations this year to oppose the bill. Mizo organisations say that the bill would allow more than one lakh Chakma “illegal migrants from Bangladesh” living in the state to get citizenship.

Mizoram Chief Minister and Mizo National Front chief Zoramthanga recently said the party would not hesitate to quit the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), a BJP-floated forum of its allies in the region if the bill was not withdrawn.

At least eight NEDA partners met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday opposing the bill. The AGP, an ally of the BJP-led Assam government, quit the alliance on January 7 in protest against the bill. The BJP government in Manipur has requested the Centre to exempt the state from the bill’s purview.

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