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Citizenship (Amendment) Bill: Nagaland Govt falls short of opposing Bill


Seeks review of Bill to ensure rights of Nagas

Dimapur, January 7: Facing backlash from various quarters over its silence on the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, the Government of Nagaland on Monday stop short of opposing the Bill and instead took the middle path of seeking a review to ensure that the Bill is in consonance with the provisions of the Constitution of India and the existing practices of the Nagas.
A press release from the Chief Minister’s Office on Monday said the State Cabinet in a meeting today resolved to request the Centre to re-examine and review the Bill to ensure that it is in consonance with the provisions of the Constitution of India and the existing practices of the Nagas.
“Taking into consideration the various imbalances that may emerge and to ensure that peace and tranquility continues in the State and to ensure the sanctity of all previous regulations such as the Inner Line Permit and the rights of the Nagas as provided in Article 371 (A) of the Constitution of India, the issue requires further review. The Cabinet resolved that a meeting of all political parties in the State be convened to examine the issue in its entirety,” it said.
Opposition NPF and other organizations have questioned the silence of the State Government on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016. A total 11-hours North East bandh have been called by the NESO on January 8 against the move of the Central Government to pass the Bill in the parliament.
It can be recalled that the State Cabinet had on June 5, 2018, decided not to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016. It, however, had said that “if the proposed amendment goes against the interest of the Nagas, the Government of Nagaland will oppose such amendments.”
The Cabinet decision against opposing the Bill was based on the belief that “Nagaland is protected under Article 371(A) of the Constitution of India and the Inner Line Permit Regulations.”
However, opposition leader TR Zeliang had on July 18, 2018 claimed that Article 371(A) deals with matters such as religious or social practices of the Nagas, their customary law and procedure, and in no way connected to the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
“The Bill is a clear threat on the Nagas and their identity,” Zeliang had said then.
In today’s meeting, the Cabinet also resolved to propose adoption of a resolution reaffirming all provisions of Article 371 (A) and to strengthen the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) as per Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, (BEFR) of 1873 in the next Session of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly.
On the political issue, the Cabinet decided that the Joint Legislators’ Forum comprising of all 60 members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly be urged to collectively call upon the Government of India to expedite the peace process for a final settlement that is honourable, inclusive and acceptable to the Nagas. (Page News Service)