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Conrad Sangma’s NPP admits suffering ‘some damage’ over CAA

GUWAHATI: The flip-flop by ruling National People’s Party (NPP) in Meghalaya on the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) has continued.

The party, which is headed by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, has reiterated that it stands opposed to CAA. Ironically, the NPP’s lone Lok Sabha member, Agatha Sangma, had voted in favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), which is now a law.

Without going into details, the NPP’s Meghalaya unit president WR Kharlukhi admitted that the party’s image took a beating as it has already suffered “some damage” over CAA. But, at the same time, he said the BJP would suffer the most in the Northeast. The NPP is an ally of the BJP.

Last year, Sangma was at the forefront of the protests against CAB in the Northeast. He was instrumental in putting up a united fight by bringing several regional political parties against CAB. However, shocking the protestors, his sister Agatha had voted in its favour. Later, she had told journalists that her action was in line with party stand.

The NPP’s act had not gone down well as widespread protests followed in the state. This prompted the Sangma cabinet to adopt a resolution on the implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state. The resolution was later unanimously passed in a day-long special session of the Assembly.

The Centre has kept some states and areas of the Northeast protected by the ILP and the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution outside the CAA’s purview.

The ILP is a travel document which a non-native is required to carry while he or she is traveling to any of the states where it is enforced. It permits stay only for a limited period and the basic reason behind its implementation was to protect indigenous tribal cultures.

The law under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873 is currently enforced in Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. It was implemented in Manipur on January 1 this year.