Urges PM to protect interest of indigenous people of NE
Dimapur, August 9: The coordination committee of the North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP) submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister of India objecting to the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016, which, it said, if enacted will create demographic imbalance to the already fragile indigenous population and pose grave danger to very existence of the indigenous people of NE as a whole irrespective of the size of the population of the communities.
The memorandum signed by NEFIP convener Ningthouja Lancha questioned the wisdom of the Union Government in preferring foreigners to its indigenous citizens in the NE India who have live in their ancestral lands since time immemorial.
NEFIP is a conglomeration of various civil societies that came into existence as a consequence against the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 on January 8, 2019 in the Lok Sabha, upholding the aspirations of the indigenous people inhabiting the 7 states of NE India, namely Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.
The theme of CAB 2016 is to naturalize illegal immigrants belonging to Hindus, Buddhists and Jains from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan as legitimate citizens of India.
The objection of NEFIP against CAB is that it violates Article 14 of the Constitution as also the Preamble of the Constitution of India. The Bill shall have severe impact on the ongoing process of the NRC monitored by the Supreme Court as the crucial dates of reference to recognize an immigrant for naturalization are different.
NEFIP also reminded that it will be incorrect to assume that all illegal immigrants who profess these three faiths have entered India surreptitiously are due to persecution on the ground of religion in their home country, as most of them are economic migrants.
On the assurances given by BJP leaders that the Bill will not harm the indigenous people’s economic, traditional and cultural interest, NEFIP argued that even now almost 80% of the economy is controlled by non-indigenous inhabitants of the region and to further add non-indigenous population will not only aggravate the already marginalized indigenous population but supplant the local population to the point of extinction.
On the argument that the State Government cannot be bypassed for process for naturalization, NEFIP, however, said a person that is not recommended for naturalization in a state can apply for naturalization from another state and become a citizen of India. “Thus there is no way to stop them. In such case, a State can allow millions of foreigners to become Indians who cannot be denied entry into any State hence.”
Pointing out that at the moment, it is estimated that there are 4 million illegal immigrants in Assam who cannot be granted citizenship under NRC, NEFIP said when CAB is enacted these foreigners will be easily accommodated as legal citizens under one pretext or other, and this shall further worsen the present demographic crisis.
The NEFIP also said it is concerned with the two notifications of 7th September, 2015 vide No.GSR685(E) by which the Passport (Entry into India) Rules of 1950 was amended whereby those foreigners from the said three countries who had entered into India by 31st December, 2014 are legalized.
The second notification vide No.GSR686(E) amended the Foreigners Orders of 1948 by which the restrictive rules are relaxed for these illegal immigrants are nothing but the forerunner of the CAB.
“These relaxations of the laws are found detrimental to the interests of the indigenous people of the NE India,” the memorandum said.
Considering this, the NEFIP urged the Prime Minister to take positive initiative and prompt action in the interest of the indigenous populace of the Northeast region. (Page News Service)