Citizenship Bill: Rio now questions NPF silence in 2016

Citizenship Bill: Rio now questions NPF silence in 2016
Neiphiu Rio (file photo)

‘Still time for review as Bill not passed in Rajya Sabha’

Dimapur, January 12: Under attack from opposition Nagaland People’s Front (NPF) over his Government’s failure to take a firm stand on the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 that had seen North Eastern states united in opposing the Bill, the PDA Government on Saturday sought to turn the table on the NPF by questioning why the party had remained silent when the Bill was introduced in July 2016.
Rio questioned whether the NPF was silent at that time since it was in alliance with the BJP then, while also expressing surprise that the NPF had raised its voice only now.
“NPF and BJP were alliance partners in 2016 and were running the State Government. During their time, the NPF did not oppose it. Only now when we are doing our best, they are trying to confuse people,” he alleged.
The CM was addressing the Poanglüm Mini Hornbill organised by the Chang Khulei Setshang at Loyem Memorial Ground, Tuensang today.
According to a CMO press release, the chief minister also maintained that Nagas and Nagaland State are protected under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act, 1873 and the Inner Line Permit regulations, while pointing out that the Cabinet had on 5th June 2018 and 7th January 2019 discussed the Bill.
“The 16 Point Agreement through which we attained Statehood, also clearly states in Clause No. 16 that with regard to Inner Line Regulation, the rules embodied in the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1973, shall remain in force in Nagaland,” he said and urged the people not to be misled by the views of opposition parties especially when the Bill has not even been passed in the Rajya Sabha “for which there is still time to review the bill.”
Rio reaffirmed the Cabinet’s decision that the Bill in its present form needed review and expressed solidarity with those communities who will be affected if the bill becomes an act.
“The Bill has not even been passed. I do not know what the Opposition is trying to portray. The Cabinet 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. We had also resolved to discuss with all political parties as well as with all stakeholders.”
The CM also affirmed that the State Government is studying the ground realities and the effectiveness of ILP in the State particularly in the foothills of Dimapur. He noted public opinions of having a law which will forfeit Naga women of their tribal status if they marry non-Nagas. He however added that these need thorough discussions in the Assembly.
Rio added that Nagas should look towards positivity and not try to pick out issues or play blame games. “We should forgive, forget and promote unity so that we can automatically be developed with a bright future for our people, particularly the youths”, he added. (Page News Service)