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Citizenship Bill: As 16th assembly last session ends protesting groups relaxes in Mizoram

Citizenship Bill: As 16th assembly last session ends protesting groups relaxes in Mizoram
The indigenous people of the northeast region apprehended that if the law was enacted, it would endanger their livelihood and identity.

Civil society groups and student organisations in Mizoram ended their protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on Wednesday after the Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die without the passage of the contentious legislation. As the term of this Lok Sabha ends on June 3, the bill, which was passed by the lower house on January 8, is set to lapse.

A bill, passed by Lok Sabha, lapses on the expiry of the term of the lower house if it is not passed by Rajya Sabha. According to NGO Coordination Committee, an umbrella organisation of civil society groups and student bodies in the state, the scheduled rallies against the bill were called off on Wednesday after news of the legislation's lapse reached them.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to grant nationality to non-Muslim minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who fled persecution, after six years of residence in India, instead of 12 years, which is currently the norm, even if they do not possess any document. The indigenous people of the northeast region apprehended that if the law was enacted, it would endanger their livelihood and identity.

Vanlalruata, the chairman of the committee, said its members were rejoicing on streets. "Our prayers have been heard. We congratulate the people of Mizoram, the civil societies and student organisations for their united opposition to the bill," he said.

The committee had been spearheading protests against the bill in Mizoram, with support from Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), the apex students' body in the state, and other organisations. MZP president L Ramdinliana Renthlei said the "united efforts of the protesters in the northeast have finally paid off".

A senior police officer said the lapse of the bill was a "welcome relief" for the state as protests over it had led to fear and insecurity among the general public. Had the legislation been passed by Rajya Sabha, it could have led to communal tension in the state, which has a sizeable Chakma population, he added. Chakmas trace their roots to Bangladesh.

(With inputs from agencies.)

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