Against Citizenship Bill, Nagaland shutdown today
Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, Feb. 10: Life may come to a standstill across Nagaland today as a conglomeration of apex civil society organisations from the state have called for a total bandh from 6 am to 4 pm to protest the attempt of the BJP-led NDA government to pass the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), 2016 in the Parliament.
The decision to organise a statewide protest against the controversial bill was taken by leaders of prominent civil society organisations, including tribe hohos and mass-based unions during a meeting held on Feb. 6 in Dimapur.
The Naga Students’ Federation had organised a similar protest (bandh) under the aegis of the North East Students Organisation on Jan. 8, the same day the Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha.
The general secretary of Nagaland Gaon Burah Federation, Shikuto Zalipu had earlier told Eastern Mirror that the apex tribal organisations would take responsibility of organising the bandh in their respective districts on Feb. 11. He added that leaders could decide on further course of action after the bandh.
Protests against the contentious CAB has intensified in the Northeast as the central government, after getting passed in the Lok Sabha, has expressed its desire to pass it in the Rajya Sabha during the ongoing budget session. People from northeastern states fear that the Bill would facilitate influx of illegal immigrants into the region, thus affect the future of the indigenous people.
It may be mentioned that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 allows people belonging to minority communities—Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians—from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to apply for Indian citizenship after six years of stay in the country.
What will be closed
- The president of All Nagaland Private Schools’ Association Andrew Ahoto informed that all schools in the state will remain closed on Monday, Feb. 11. However, those appearing for examinations will be exempted.
- Nagaland State Transport (NST) general manager Thomas Thonger informed Eastern Mirror that it may suspend all transport services on Monday since the NST has not been exempted from the bandh.
- Taxis and other public transport will also be suspended from 6 am to 4 pm.
- Business establishments will be shut.
What will be exempted
- Police, district administrations
- Medical and emergency services
- Army and paramilitary forces
- Students and teachers on examination
- Autorickshaws or transportations ferrying students on examination
- Pre-engaged programmes like weddings
- Train and flight passengers
- Members of the NSCN (IM) attending the National Hoho
- Press and media personnel
‘Ensure shutdown is peaceful’
Dimapur, Feb. 10 (EMN): The joint coordination committee of civil society organisations in Nagaland calling for a Nagaland-bandh today has appealed to all tribe hohos and gaon burah to ensure that the shutdown is peaceful and no violence should occur under any circumstances.
A statement from the committee on Sunday described the bandh as a “conscience call” to the people to rise to the occasion and protect the rights, privileges, dignity, and security of the indigenous people.
It stated that Naga people are now agitated “for the fact that years of negotiations without apparent solution” to the Indo-Naga talks was tantamount to taking Nagas for a ride. “Rubbing salt to the injury, the government of India is hell-bent to impose its political agenda as the CAB of 2016 which was passed by Lok Sabha on 8.1.2019. The Bill expected to be tabled in Raja Sabha anytime hence this was confirmed by Ram Madhav, National Secretary, BJP as it would be processed as supplementary item,” the statement read.
It also expressed regret at what it stated was the prime minister visiting few NE states “with the intention to pacify the people.” Such “relentless lobbying” by the union government, according to the committee, amounts to total disregard to the sentiment of the NE people.