Dimapur, Oct. 10 (EMN): The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) has dismissed the recent statement of Naga People’s Front (NPF) on Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) as too little too late.
“One wonders as to what slumberous reverie the NPF has suddenly woken up from when their party had missed the bus time and again when the entire Naga people were unitedly standing their ground on these urgent issues (CAB and ILP),” stated a press release from the NDPP on Thursday.
Asserting that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had indeed declared that a provision would be included in the CAB to protect the NE states particularly Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, it suggested that the NPF—in its haste to attack the PDA government, chief minister and Lok Sabha MP—has failed to understand what that provision is going to be.
Shah, it reminded, had stated that the NE states will be protected through provisions in the proposed CAB and that “the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system in force in the NE states will be incorporated in the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill”, thus vindicating the stand of the PDA government that the ILP regime and Article 371(A) will protect Nagaland.
“The NPF as a political party should now answer to the people why they have time and again held the stand and thoroughly tried to mislead the people that the ILP regime under the BEFR 1873 cannot protect Nagas and Nagaland from the proposed CAB! What was the then Chief Minister TR Zeliang doing when the proposed CAB was being formulated in Parliament in 2016 while the state was under his guard?
“What was the ruling NPF party doing that they have suddenly decided to become the guardians of the Naga people against the proposed CAB when the Bill was actually drawn during their reign? The government of the day at that point of time did not even utter a squeak of protest while today they are trying to portray themselves as the champions of the people!” it stated.
According to the party, the new provision to be added in the proposed CAB still does not say that the bill would not be applicable to Nagaland nor will it disallow those people who are granted citizenship under the amended Citizenship Act of 1955 from entering/visiting the sate with valid necessary documents.
“It is for this reason that the PDA government led by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio have, and will continue to, hold the stand that Article 371 (A) and the BEFR 1873 will protect the state and its people of their rights, privileges and lands. It is with this stand that the PDA government has decided to extend the ILP regime to Dimapur district,” it stated.
The party reminded that the elected representatives of the NPF “like petulant children” had walked out of the Assembly on February 25 “while the Assembly resolution rejecting the CAB and endorsing the resolution of January 31 passed by all apex civil society organisations of the state was being moved for passing.”
“It is also still fresh in people’s memories of how the NPF boycotted the consultative meeting in Kohima on July 17. As such, the NPF has no contribution whatsoever in the fight against the CAB, implementation of ILP in Dimapur district. The moment they boycotted the consultative meetings and walked out from the Assembly without adopting resolutions to oppose the CAB and they failed to protect the people who voted for them,” read the statement.
It would bode well for the opposition party to reflect on their mistakes and utterances instead of constantly attacking the chief minister and the government, it added.
“It was Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio who highlighted the concerns of the state and the region to the union home minister not only in meetings in New Delhi but also during deliberations in Guwahati during the NEC and NEDA meets after which the Centre had assured that the concerns of the north-eastern region would be addressed. The NPF and its leadership in its desperation and failure to act as a responsible opposition seems to have no other alternative strategy but to make personalised attacks and continue its habitual agenda of spreading lies, which has completely failed to cut ice with the masses,” the party stated.