Sunday, May 16, 2021
Editorial

How in the name of the Father …?

How in the name of the Father and the Son does the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) strengthen the ILP and the BEFR Act of 1873? This is what Nagaland’s lone MP to the Rajya Sabha (RS) reportedly said in a press conference at Kohima on December 20 last. If he had explained how the CAA strengthens the ILP and the BEFR Act of 1873, his assertion that his priority is the protection of the rights of Nagaland and its people may have been taken with a pinch of salt and everyone could have moved on with life. But since he failed to do so, he has opened himself to largely-held opinion that he is indeed a very confused person ~ hence exposed himself to ridicule. Yes, it is very possible that the Centre may revoke the BEFR 1873 and ILP or even Article 371 (A) ~ if it so desires, as it did Article 370 for reasons political, in the name of nationalism, for national security or for any reason, or for implausible reason, seeing that the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre has a humongous majority. The CAA, or even the NRC, is no protection to the BEFR 1873 and ILP regime and Article 371 (A) or vice-versa. Here it must be underscored that while states and areas under the ILP and the Sixth Schedule are exempted from the CAA in the Northeast, the Centre has not yet etched in stone that the CAA would never be implemented and enforced in these states and areas of the Northeast ever. So, what we in the Northeast have right now is merely the Centre’s verbal assurance. If verbal assurances alone are good enough for our MPs, then the people of this region need to rethink and revisit the vulnerability ~ and yes, even gullibility ~ of our MPs and question their “priority” to protect the rights of the people. This is critical because the people know only too well the slip between the lip and the cup ~ the sum total of the political, economic and development saga of the Northeast is nothing but that slip between the lip and cup. And nothing proves this more than the influx of illegal migrants into Nagaland for decades. Nothing proves this more than the issuance of ILP without verification of the antecedents of applicants and their purpose for “visiting” Nagaland ~ not even them overstaying. There is also no monitoring mechanism to oversee what these ILP entrants actually do during their “visit” to Nagaland. There are also a good number of people who are carted into Nagaland in Government registered vehicles, which are never checked by the concerned authorities. In the same press conference, the RS MP reportedly said: “Continuation of BEFR Act 1873 had not undergone any enactment in the Parliament, and we feared that it could be easily withdrawn if so decided by a mere resolution of the Union Cabinet like Article 370 and Assam Accord, and therefore we were saying we are vulnerable to CAB”. But of course we are vulnerable to CAB, now CAA, despite exemption from the CAA because the BEFR 1873 and ILP are no protection therefore even states and areas under these regimes are protesting. Perhaps, our RS MP hasn’t noticed that no walls exist between state boundaries therefore it was easy for illegal immigrants to walk into the Northeastern states and park themselves here? So, when he maintains “… the inclusion of ILP and BEFR clauses in the principal Act has strengthened the protection of Nagaland state from illegal immigrants and it has given supreme power to the state Government to stringently execute ILP” ~ all we can ask is; seriously? Does he mean to say that because of the absence of CAA, the state Government didn’t have the “supreme power to stringently execute ILP”? SERIOUSLY? And to add insult to injury, reportedly he further said: “now protection from the “influx of illegal immigrants … has been achieved through CAA 2019”? When? How? Where? The CAA was enacted only the other day so how did the MP arrive at this conclusion? Resigning from the NPF as Secretary General is inconsequential but resigning from the MP-ship would make a difference. The people have our own take on why our MPs voted for CAB, so no one’s buying their “justifications” ~ anything less than logic and reason, especially at a time like this, is an insult to our intelligence.

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