Dimapur, January 20: Notwithstanding the contrary opinions from various civil society organizations, individuals and the opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF), the PDA Government in Nagaland continues to maintained that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is not applicable to Nagaland as the State stand protected under the provisions of Article 371 (A) and the Inner Line Permit (ILP) as per Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, (BEFR) of 1873.
“The State Cabinet has unequivocally reaffirmed the view that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is not applicable to Nagaland and the State stand protected under the provisions of Article 371 (A) and the Inner Line Permit (ILP) as per Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, (BEFR) of 1873, affirmed under Clause 16 of the 16 Point Agreement,” said a press release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office, Nagaland.
The CMO said the State Cabinet in a meeting held on January 18 discussed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and re-iterated the earlier decisions taken on 5th June, 2018 and 7th January, 2019. It decided adopt a Resolution re-affirming all provisions of Article 371 (A) and to strengthen the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) as per Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, (BEFR) of 1873 that will also be taken up in the next Session of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly.
The Cabinet also decided to refer the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to the Standing Committee on Article 371 (A) under Nagaland Legislative Assembly to examine the issue in its entirety.
The Cabinet also decided to further appeal to the Government of India to have wider consultations with all North Eastern States to ensure that the rights of indigenous people are fully protected.
As per the Cabinet decision, the CMO said the Chief Minister has also written a letter to Union Home Minister conveying the concern and apprehension of people of Nagaland with regard to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
“It has been clearly mentioned that the Bill, even if enacted, will not be applicable to Nagaland in view of the Constitutional ecosystem contained in Article 371 (A) of the Constitution of India that guarantees the Nagas their Way of Life un-interfered by any Parliamentary enactment, unless the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland by a resolution so decides. This is necessary to ensure that the historic and unique cultural traditions and customary practices of Nagas are protected and safeguarded for which special constitutional provisions under Article 371(A) have also been incorporated in the Constitution of India,” the CMO said.
Meanwhile the ruling NDPP said the PDA Government appreciates all sections of people who have expressed concern over the CAB as the rights, safeguards and protection of our people is a common concern for all of us. “The stand of the PDA Government will be the stand of the people’s collective view,” it said.
In keeping with this approach, the NDPP informed that the State Cabinet has taken the decision to call a consultative meet of all sections including tribal hohos, civil societies, NGOs, political parties, prominent citizens and all stakeholders to collect the views, opinions and suggestions of all sections of the Naga society.
“The consensus arrived at this meeting will naturally become the stand of the Nagaland Government which we will present before the Government of India.”
On the report of the ILP committee, which has been constituted to look into the BEFRF/ILP, the NDPP said the committee should submit its final report and recommendations only after it gathers opinions and suggestions from all sections in a transparent and democratic manner. It appealed to all concerned to come forward and propose its recommendations by way of written submissions and also participation in the consultative meet.
“We need to address the issue in a patient and sensible manner” since the matter is of utmost importance and will have far reaching repercussions, it said, while assuring all sections that the recommendations of the ILP committee and the stand of the State Government will truly reflect the will and desire of the people.
“Naga society is a very open and democratic society therefore in keeping with this tradition of ours, let us all come forward and participate in a positive and democratic manner, while avoiding all forms of negativity, with the sole intension of protecting and safeguarding the rights of our people for now and for generations to come,” it added.
(Page News Service)