Kobulong, Sep. 10 (EMN): NPF legislator Dr. Imtiwapang Aier on Tuesday asserted that symbolic issues like ‘flag’ and ‘yezhabo’ (constitution) should not be compromised at any cost in the framework agreement because it recognises the uniqueness of Nagas.
Addressing a meeting with Asetkong Mungdang, the apex body of the Asetkong Range at Kobulong administrative circle in Mokokchung district, he said that negotiating parties are trying to settle the matter on symbolic issues and the constitution of the Nagas.
Aier asserted that the dreams and desires of Naga people would not be fulfilled if these two demands were not included in the solution.
In this connection, he called upon the Naga people to join hands and make it clear to New Delhi that ‘our dreams and desires’ must be fulfilled.
Aier also dwelled on issues like Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), Inner Line Permit (ILP) under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) Act 1873, Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN) and Centre’s proposal to amend Forest Act of 1927.
He wondered how Article 371 (A) and BEFR Act 1873 can safeguard and protect the Nagas’ rights and privileges from CAB when the Centre has already done away with point 2 (Direct control by Minister of Affairs) and point 11(Financial assistance from consolidated fund of India) from the 16-Point Agreement without the consent of Nagas.
He further added that when the State Assembly framed and passed the Nagaland Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulation Act 2012 and passed the Nagaland Petroleum and Natural Gas Rules 2012 taking the privileged and rights under Article 371 (A), the Ministry of Home Affairs had rejected it as ‘unconstitutional and invalid.’
“They (Centre) conveyed that Article 371 (A) do not confer legislative power to the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland,” he said.
In this connection, Aier asked, “When we cannot even extract what is in our land; or when we cannot exercise the rights that were given to us; how will Article 371 (A) protect our Nagaland from CAB?”
“If CAB is passed and becomes law, giving citizenship to the immigrants is not a problem. But how to accommodate or settle the mammoth population will be a dilemma for the central government,” he said, and appealed to the stakeholders to tackle it meticulously.
On introduction of ILP in Dimapur and the issue of RIIN, Aier said that in March 2019, the Nagaland Legislative Assembly had agreed to implement IPL in Dimapur and a committee was constituted to study and submit the feasibility report.
However, he said, the committee suggested conducting RIIN exercise “forgetting about ILP in Dimapur”.
In the Assembly, Aier added, NPF had opined that to conduct RIIN exercise at this juncture is too early.
“Once the feasibility report of RIIN is submitted by the committee, it will be again tabled in the House for further discussion,” he said. On the proposal to amend the Forest Act of 1927, Aier expressed fear that the inherent land rights of the indigenous people will be repealed/abrogated.