The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 introduced in the Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 is a matter of serious concern for Nagaland State. Once the Bill is passed, it will grant citizenship to people who have come to settle from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. This will pertain to minority communities belonging to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians. The Bill gives opportunity to those religious groups from other countries to return to India and become bona fide citizens of India. The proposed Bill is subjective and communal as it stands for the interest of the Hindus in particular in the context of Indian pluralism overriding secularism.
Granting citizenship on religious consideration is dangerous and against secular principle of India. North-East is highly infested by illegal immigrants particularly from Bangladesh and already heavily burden with foreigners’ issue and regularisation of these illegal residents is a direct threat to North-East political future and the survival of its indigenous people, identity, culture and land.
Sensing the possible impact of the Bill particularly on Assam, where as much as 20 millions of illegal immigrants are from Bangladesh alone and the new law will facilitate continuous flows of illegal immigrants to Assam and neighbouring states. Leading civil organizations along with sensible MLAs cutting across the political parties are vehemently protesting across the State of Assam and the apprehensions of the people of Assam is obvious because of the fact that when the floodgate is opened, the indigenous landowners of Assam will be overwhelmed by those foreigners in due course of time. In the process, the native people of Assam can be made the secondary citizens by those intruders. The protests of the people of Assam under the aegis of AASU is right on time and deserves support from all indigenous communities in North-East India.
Assam is our good neighbour and it acts as the gateway to Nagaland. Besides, our border with Assam is and will remain porous. Just as the adage, when Assam gets cold, Nagaland sneezes, Nagaland’s border cannot be sealed from infiltration of those illegal people in the long run. When Assam is flooded with foreigners, Nagaland will become the first victim of the proposed Bill.
The Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) therefore extends its support to the voices of the indigenous people being raised in Assam and North-Eastern states against the Bill. The Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) urges the GOI to reconsider its policy and not to go against the sentiments of the indigenous population. The Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) also lauds the decision of Meghalaya Government to firmly oppose Citizenship Amendments Bill, 2016. The Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC fervently urges the State Government of Nagaland to oppose the same keeping the popular wishes and interest of the citizens of the state.
Kohima, the 1st of June, 2018
Issued by: Media Cell, NTC
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