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Nagas must unitedly fight for their rights: Rio

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Dimapur, January 31: Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio today called upon Nagas to unitedly fight for their rights under Article 371 (A).
“Nagas need to recognize their rights and fight for it,” he said at the consultative meet with civil societies, tribal organizations, political parties and NGOs on Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2016 at Chumukedima. He also explained the privileges written in the 16-Point Agreement Clause 16.
Rio, who gave the closing remark at the end of the consultative meet where all Nagas opposed the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016, said, “There is nothing more to discuss, now we have to strengthen our voices by taking appropriate decisions and by passing a resolution in the Assembly.”
“Since today all the organizations have opposed the CAB 2016, we have got a mandate from the people to talk with Government of India,” he said, adding the State Government will take it up with the Central Government. He said the outcome of today’s meeting will be taken to the Assembly and appropriate resolution passed.
Rio reminded that Nagaland was created after the 16-Point Agreement was signed and to prevent others from coming to Nagaland, the Inner Line Permit was implemented. He emphasized the BEFR 1873 would be enforced in the State as per the 16-Point Agreement.
On NPF boycotting today’s consultative meet, Rio termed it as unfortunate and said the CAB is an important issue which needs to be deliberated with one voice. He lamented that the opposition which has claimed to be a ‘responsible opposition’ has boycotted the consultative meet. He disclosed that they (NPF) had earlier boycotted the Statehood Day celebration despite proper invitation being sent to them, and the opposition also did not attend the Republic Day celebration.
Observing that Nagas are apprehensive and not confident on the CAB 2016, the Chief Minister said, “We are saying ourselves Article 371 (A) will not protect us from the CAB 2016. It is very clear that nobody can come and settle in Nagaland. People can come but have no right on land and immovable property. Nagas have all the privileges.”
He said the danger is not illegal immigrant but “our own Nagas”. “We are bringing them (illegal immigrants) and giving them protection.
“Do you think the Supreme Court will protect the Nagas?” he asked.
Rio said that the Central Government is contemplating to bring the Uniform Civil Code with “One Nation One Tax” and at such time the Court will protect the nation’s interest and not the Nagas’ interest.
“We cannot get justice in the Parliament or the Court,” he said adding, today only majority is right.
He asked the members present to give a reason to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 when Article 371 (A) gives protection to the Nagas.
He said the CAB 2016 was introduced in 2016 and passed in 2019 in Lok Sabha, but the NPF never opposed it earlier but today they are questioning the PDA Government.
Rio also cited the earlier statements of TR Zeliang and Dr Shurhozelie wherein they had declared that Article 371 (A) is supreme.
Deputy Chief Minister Nagaland, Y. Patton, while noting the opposition to CAB by the people of Nagaland, assured that the Nagaland Government was taking all necessary steps to safeguard the interest of the people of the State.
“If the proposed amendment bill goes against the interest of the Nagas, the government will oppose it,” he said.
Patton said that the consultative meet was called to reflect the views and desires of the people and assured that the Government would continue to take measures to further strengthen the rights and interest of the people.
President, BJP Nagaland State, Imna Along, also a minister in Rio’s cabinet, endorsed the State’s cabinet decision taken on 18th January 2019, opposing the ÇAB. He said that he being a Naga understands the concerns of the Nagas, and endorsed to stand with the Naga people in not accepting the CAB in the present form.
He further informed that the BJP Nagaland State has called for a meeting on February 2 to deliberate the issue.
Imna said a party representative would be sent in Delhi for giving suggestions to the leaders for safeguarding the indigenous rights of the Nagas and North East people in general. He was optimistic that the leaders in Delhi have noticed the concerns of the people of North East.
Representatives from ENPO, ENPO, NSF, ENSF, NMA, NUTA, APO, Ao Senden, Chakesang Public Organization, Chang Tribal Council, Lotha Hoho, Phom People Council, Pochury Hoho, Sumi Hoho, United Sangtam Likhum Pumji, Yimchunger Tribal Council, Zeliang People Organization who all participated in the discussion stood to oppose the implementation of CAB in Nagaland. Political parties including BJP, NDPP, NPP, JDU, NCP also stood to oppose the CAB 2016, as decided by the state government.
Though the CNTC boycotted the meeting, its constituent units were present in the meeting and expressed resentment against the Government for ignoring the CNTC and NGBF. The NPF and INC also did not attend today’s meeting.
Minister Neiba Kronu and retired bureaucrat HK Khulu also spoke in the meeting.
(Page News Service)

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