On 24th January 2020, members of a very seriously concerned Senior Citizens of Nagaland (henceforth referred to as SCAN for brevity) gathered at the MC Hall of Red Cross building at 1.00 pm to discuss issues that would invariably impact the Naga Society now and beyond. The two immediate subjects of concern focused upon were on: (1): CAA and; (2): Pan Naga Hoho…and its long term implication to the Naga society of Nagaland. The deliberated views of the Senior Citizens are as follows:
1. CAA: After a very divergent candid discourse, SCAN arrived at a conscientious conclusion that CAA is an unethical legislation on the part of the BJP led Government of India which violates and infringes on the fundamental rights and Secular spirit of the Constitution of India…as is widely being debated and condemned across the country. It is obvious that one of the minority communities, the Muslims, is being discriminated upon. While this issue may not have an immediate ramification per say against the Naga Christian minority community, if such a law can be imposed against the Muslims….ask ourselves: what stops the Hindu Majority in Parliament from legislating other Laws like that of CAA that would destroy the very fabrics of Secular foundry of Indian Democracy where majority and minority share equal rights in the eyes of Law at present? The present Naga leaders find short-sighted comfort of sheltering under false feeling of security that CAA is not applicable to the State of Nagaland…and therefore our Member representatives of both Houses of Parliament disgracefully voted in favour of CAA…just so as to remain in power and gain budgetary favour of BJP Government at the Centre…individually or collectively. In the first instance, the question is not very much as to whether CAA is applicable to the State of Nagaland or not. It is of critical importance that the Nagas see the larger picture very sensitively as long as we remain within the India Union as a minority. The BJP Government has made it blatantly and rampantly clear through their RSS ideologue for the past several years that India belongs to the Hindus and Hindu Rashtrya and Hindutva philosophy must be established at all cost now rather than later. CAA is a step closer towards fulfilling this overall intention. The whole purpose is to import and distribute an artificial overwhelming Hindu voting population to drown the entire minority community in the country whereby the Hindus can dictate terms by legislating Laws such as CAA and emasculate the minorities for all times. CAA with a sharp Hindu focus includes other minority faith like the Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities…just so as to attempt a semblance of a crude balancing act to salvage a non-discriminatory face to the International community…but can the Christian minority in India feel comfortable and safe within this devious evolving scenario? The very fundamental commitment of Christian faith and duty is to “go forth and spread the Gospel”. The BJP Government may tolerate the existing Christian minority in the Country but have already started a war against conversion of other faith to Christianity. Laws are bound to be created eventually whereby anti-conversion Laws will be enacted by the Hindu majority in Parliament against other faiths to ensure non-conversion and make it a punishable offence by laws. The Hindus majority in Parliament can enact such a law in the same way as CAA. So whatever be the population of Christians in India…they will be tolerated only if Christians abstain from trying to convert others into Christianity…which necessarily means Christianity in the long run will die a natural death. The clock is being reversed to the period of Roman history and persecution of Christians. It’s a long term end-game being played to wipe out the minority of other faith to ultimately make India purely a Hindu Country in the end. That is the larger picture here. The fragmented picture that our present State Government leaders are standing on is to proclaim that the State of Nagaland is assured of being outside the purview of CAA…quoting Article 371A and the BEFRA (Inner Line Pass) as our insurance. Firstly, Article 371A has no direct linkage with CAA…other than the broad land law disallowing non-indigenous /non locals from buying or owning landed property in our State. Despite this fact…the Government of Nagaland has already made desperate attempt to convert the foothill sector into a Special Development Zone circumventing all legal impediments to allow settlement of non-indigenous persons in this zone to acquire land and develop it. When we have such a Government wanting to tear down even those small protective walls, we can imagine what the scenario can be. The Special Development Zone could well become the landing ground of 20-30 lakh new Hindu rehabilitees with Indian citizenship from Afghanistan/Pakistan/Bangladesh flooding our territory with voting right within our boundary. Further, Laws can very well be bent whereby other non-local Indian citizens who may not be able to buy or own landed properties on a permanent basis but can very well own land through lease for 100 years at a time for instance for setting mega projects that the State Government wants to generate. The whole demographic scenario can undergo a drastic change overnight with BJP lapdogs ruling the roost in the State. This is not just conjecturing. This can and will happen if the present trend of corruptive norms of governance is taken seriously. Nagas are more than ready to slip on a one rupee note. There is no denying that ILP could play a major role in controlling and restricting non-locals entering Nagaland. However, the present mechanism of ILP management in place is but a poor joke at best…in the matter of issuing ILP. It’s but a source of earning pocket money by those placed responsible to issue it. The Nagas ourselves are the ones callously violating the norms by bringing outside labourers under ILP and after work is done, let them loose whoever they want and continue to stay in Nagaland for years on end getting their ILP renewed without a question being raised. Many of them are already enrolled in the electoral roll with voting right as an Indian citizen. The fact of the matter is that the majority comes to Nagaland claiming their origin in Assam. Therefore, when Assam is in trouble and is rightly agitated against CAA it is the same cancer that will impact Nagaland. We therefore need to show solidarity and stand with Assam on this issue as well. But the bottom-line view of SCAN in this is that the Government must consider with utmost seriousness to upgrade the ILP sector as a dedicated Department to the level equal to the status of National Passport placing senior officers with authority and responsibility with a whole lot of regulatory checks and balances being put in place.
2. PAN NAGA HOHO (PNH): The Senior Citizens of Nagaland sees PNH as a very unnerving gray area within the ambit of the final solution being proposed by the NSCN (IM). If we are to go by the ‘Competency Clauses’ read out to the people present in meeting at Hebron by the NSCN (IM)…it has serious ramifications. Firstly, PNH will be a statuary body created through Act of Parliament…supposedly for cultural and emotional integration. This body will comprise of all Nagas from Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam…including Nagaland…but is silent about the membership composition criteria of this House. What is absolutely certain however is that, like the present Naga Hoho and the NSF for example, the Nagas of Nagaland will be a minority in this establishment with 16 Tribes as against almost 50 Tribes from everywhere else. NSCN (IM) has been pressing hard to ensure that this body will have an advisory role in matters of Education and Development. When questioned during the meeting with the Governor of Nagaland in this regard, the Hon’ble Governor categorically stated that PNH will be a statutory body since it will be created through an Act of Parliament, and will be funded independently by the GoI, and that the advisory role of PNH in matters of Education and Development would be the same as any other NGOs where they may advise the Government in such matters but that the Government will have the final authority to accept or reject such an advise. If this is truly the case, what one fails to understand is: why enact such a clause of no consequence at all as a part of the final deal? The added unease sets in when NSCN (IM) says that the rules and regulation to manage the PNH will be worked out only after the Body physically comes into being. There is no stopping the PNH to create rules and regulations to make their advisory role into a more mandatory one in nature. What is additionally unpalatable is that our Naga brothers in Manipur and Arunachal will have their Regional Autonomous Council independently exercising their authority within their respective area without any scope of interference by any Nagas from elsewhere…but that by virtue of their being members of PNH they can dictate terms within the State of Nagaland “that will cease to exist”? The Nagas of Nagaland may be stupid but not stupid to the extent of accepting such nonsense! Finally, we have been made to understand that NSCN (IM) is pressing hard to have PNH established in and around Hebron with an earmarked 1000 acres of land as a starter. Nagas of Nagaland did not sustain a movement for the past 73 years to finally fail to salvage sovereignty or integration and at the fag-end even lose territory that is already ours. The Nagas of Nagaland may not necessarily object to the creation of PNH per say purely for cultural and emotional integration but in the absence of physical integration, its (PNH) interference into the affairs of the State of Nagaland is absolutely absurd and totally uncalled for…leave aside having such a body being established within the State of Nagaland. Since the majority representation will comprise of our Southern Brothers…let the PNH be set up within their majority jurisdiction for better management. Let it be made very clear that their continued presence and interference through PNH in any manner within the State of Nagaland without physical integration is completely and totally unacceptable. Period!
Khekiye K. Sema IAS Retd; Medoselhou Keretsu;
President; General Secretary;
Senior Citizen’s Association of Nagaland Senior Citizen’s Association of Nagaland
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