Meghalaya Assembly passes resolution urging Centre to keep state out of CAA

The Meghalaya Assembly on Monday passed a resolution urging the Centre to exempt the entire state, including the areas not covered under the Sixth Schedule, from purview of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019.
The resolution was moved by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma during the second day of the assembly’s budget session here.
The chief minister informed the House that 23 municipal wards out of 27 are under the Sixth Schedule areas, while the remaining four covering an area of 2 square kilometers (out of 23,000 fall outside it.
The areas under the Sixth Schedule do no fall in the ambit of CAA.
“To ensure that the entire state is exempted, the state government has taken additional measures to protect the indigenous people of the state by passing a resolution to urge the Government of India to exempt the entire state, including the 2 not covered under Sixth Schedule from the purview of the CAA,” he said.
He further informed that since the Act has come into force, nobody has applied for citizenship from the state government.
Dissatisfied with the content of the government resolution, the opposition Congress demanded that the MDA government ask the Centre to repeal the Act.
The ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) includes the BJP.
“…this House must take a resolution like we did on the Inner Line Permit (issue) unanimously saying we reject and disapprove the whole content of the CAA and urge the Centre to repeal CAA,” Leader of the Opposition Mukul Sangma said.
Mukul, who is a former chief minister, also accused the Centre ofr trying to “mislead” the people that partition was based on religion.
The resolution said that the CAA, 2019 has come into force with publication in the Gazette of India on December 12, 2019 and the Act provides that it shall not apply to tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution.
It added whereas, the CAA applies to areas in the state not covered under the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution i.e., the municipality of Shillong as defined in para 20 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, and hence additional measures are required to protect and safeguard the interests of the tribal population of the state.
“Now, therefore this House thanks the Government of India for exempting the Sixth Schedule areas of the state from the purview of the CAA, 2019 and resolves that the Government of India be urged to exempt the entire state including the areas not covered under the Sixth Schedule from the purview of the said Act,” the resolution said.
Conrad said that constitutionally the state government is not in a position to reject the CAA but can only urge the Centre to exempt the entire state.
But the opposition leader said, “I am afraid a very bad precedence has come in with the coming of this Act. If they (Centre) are saying that CAA is because partition is based on religion, other agendas will be imposed in future and that is why we oppose the enforcement of this Act.” Supporting his view, East Shillong legislator Ampareen Lyngdoh said that the government should use strong words like “repeal” or “scrap” in the resolution. She said that the Centre should also be urged not to divide Shillong city.
Umroi legislator George B Lyngdoh said that “we cannot allow this Act to further divide the nation.” According to Mawlai legislator PT Sawkmie, states like Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal have already passed resolutions in their respective houses against the CAA.
In his reply, the chief minister, however, said that repealing of the CAA is unlikely as Parliament has already passed it.
Therefore, he said that the government resolution to urge the Centre to exempt the entire state is most practical and right approach.
“It would give 100 per cent exemption to us. I urge this house to pass this resolution and send a strong message to Centre that we want the entire state to be exempted from the purview of the CAA,” Conrad said.
Later, the government resolution was passed after it was put to vote.