The groups, which included Mizoram People's Conference (MPC) and People's Right to Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM) gathered in front of Vanapa Hall, were opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB).
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said the BJP-led government at the Centre has doubled the allocation of funds for developmental projects in Mizoram since the exit of the UPA government. Shah was speaking at the inauguration of the North East Handloom and Handicraft Exhibition, organised by the North East Council, in the Mizoram capital. “While the UPA government had allocated over Rs 19,900 crore to Mizoram through the 13th Finance Commission, the Modi government has already allocated Rs 42,970 crore to the state through the 14th Finance Commission,” Shah, who is visiting the state for the first time after assuming the charge of Home minister, said. Shah, also the NEC chairman, assured Chief Minister Zoramthanga of working towards the development of the state.
If Mizoram, the most disturbed state in the country could become the most peaceful state, it can also become the most developed state in the country, he said. The state had witnessed a two decade-long insurgency since 1966, which ended with signing of a peace accord between the Mizo National Front and the Government of India in 1986. The Union home minister also promised the chief minister that he would do “everything possible to make the beautiful state develop, prosper and become more beautiful”. The state has great potential in bamboo cultivation and its residents can become self-sufficient through the manufacture and sale of handicraft items. “The massive wealth of bamboo in the state can be utilised for development of handicraft items.
Self-sufficiency could be achieved through manufacture and sale of bamboo products,” he said. Zoramthanga expressed hope that with assistance from the Centre, Mizoram, that has a high potential for growth, will have the highest Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) in the country. Though the powerful NGO Coordination Committee, an umbrella organisation of major civil society organisations and student bodies, had withdrawn its decision to organise a protest by wearing black shawls during Shah’s visit, some groups staged a protest by carrying placards.
The groups, which included Mizoram People’s Conference (MPC) and People’s Right to Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM) gathered in front of Vanapa Hall, were opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB). A few people wearing black shawls near the Government High School Playground, the venue of the North East Handloom and Handicraft Exhibition, were, however, dispersed by the police.
The CAB had been passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8, 2019, but could not be placed in the Rajya Sabha. The legislation seeks to accord Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, and Parsis from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh after seven years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document.
After inaugurating the exhibition, Shah is scheduled to meet Zoramthanga and then speak with leaders of the NGO Coordination Committee on the CAB.