Dimapur, Jan. 10 (EMN): At least three political parties from Nagaland have expressed opposition to the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.
Through separate statements issued on Thursday, the NPF legislators from Kohima, the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC), and the state’s unit of Janata Dal (United) announced their opposition of the bill. The JD(U) is part of the ruling PDA alliance in Nagaland.
“When the whole of Northeast is rising on (sic) the occasion, opposing the Bill, the PDA cabinet meekly urges the Centre to ‘Re-examine and Review’. We the NPF MLAs of Kohima, call upon the Nagas to stand witness to this betrayal and give this government a befitting reply democratically in the coming days,” read the Kohima NPF legislators’ statement.
According to the NPCC, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 is not acceptable to Nagaland. “The objective of the bill clearly defies the interests of tribals and indigenous inhabitants particularly in the Northeast which will be compromised despite previous safeguards. In the context of Nagaland, Congress stands by the 1963 electoral roll as the basis of settlement in Nagaland. We have conveyed our stand that we do not approve of the bill at any cost, when it was introduced last year.
“The BJP’s intent to grant illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan citizenship on religious grounds is encouraging further infiltration in the Northeast which is already grappling with a wide range of issues stemming from illegal immigrants including changes in demography and dilution of inherent social, cultural and linguistic properties to the extent of reduction of the indigenous people to a minority status,” it stated.
According to the Congress, the “state cabinet’s resolution to merely urge the centre to re-examine and review the bill without spelling out any proposal may not yield results for it is clear that such urging is an attempt to walk the tightrope not knowing which side to jump. In the meantime, chief minister should not mislead the people by confusing with the provisions of Art 371(A) and Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873.”
Nagaland, it stated, is already overcrowded with infiltrators. “The youth have no jobs and youth exodus has become a major concern for Congress. Our boys and girls don’t see any future in Nagaland. They have lost hope. They do not even want to return to Nagaland as merit no longer has a place. It is nepotism, bias and backdoor appointments that rule.”
Quite intriguingly, the ruling PDA’s partner JD (U) also issued a statement expressing grief at the passing of said bill in the lok Sabha on Jan. 8 “despite stiff opposition not only from the opposition parties but even from the NDA allies.”
According to the statement, the JD (U) was the first political party to oppose “this controversial bill” by way of resolution in its national executive meeting Jul. 8, 2018 in New Delhi. “However, the Lok Sabha, having numerical advantage, has passed the bill thereby totally crashing the appeals of the indigenous people of the Northeast.
“The Bill has set in a course of division amongst the people of the NE on communal lines. The passage of the bill have ignited inflammable furnace causing grave injuries not only to the hopes of the indigenous people but even physical damages are being inflicted resulting even to the loss of innocent lives.
“In the light of the above, the JD (U) Nagaland, once again, reaffirms its earlier stand of endorsing the National Executive Council Meeting of 2018 in opposing the said controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill and shall continue to do so even being a part of the PDA govt. of Nagaland. The JD (U) Nagaland expresses its solidarity with the people of NE in the fight and struggle against the passage of the said bill,” it stated.