Mostly the Hindus from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh including those in lakhs in India who are yet to get citizenship enrolment for want of requisite proof mostly in Assam under NRC will get registered as full-fledged citizens of India and also in other States in India under the Citizenship(Amendment) Bill 2016 once enacted. The moment those foreign Hindus get themselves registered as citizens of India, they become as good as any bona fide citizen of the country to go and settle anywhere in India including Nagaland. The core issue in question is therefore the unwanted newly registered citizens in lakhs under CAB 2016 will be added to the already overpopulated Indians who will then look for greener pastures, and Nagaland is very much the soft target. Hardly any of those foreign Hindus seeking for Indian citizenship will be looking for registration in Nagaland. It is similar to consumable items manufactured in other States and imported into Nagaland on sale. Those registered citizens, mostly Hindus will intrude into Nagaland as Indians and not as illegal immigrants. Therefore, it is irrelevant for PDA to harp on the use of Art 371(A) to be the legal mechanism for Nagaland to reject the registration of citizenship seekers nor to take shelter under BEFR of 1873 as though Nagaland is insulated by these two laws from the enforcement of CAB 2016 when enacted.
The question is therefore how not to allow the CAB 2016 be enacted as law is safer for a weak State like Nagaland as prevention is better than cure.
Whereas, the PDA Cabinet decided on the 5th June 2018 that it does not oppose the CAB 2016 and that it would oppose only when some of its provisions are found detrimental to the interest of Nagaland. Such decision is childish for the fact that provisions of an Act cannot be selectively rejected or accepted. Since then PDA has been relentlessly defending its June decision fully backed up by the major partner party NDPP. Whereas, on 7th January, 2019, the State Cabinet decided ‘to request the Union Govt. to re-examine and review’ the Bill. Whereas, the next day, on the 8th of January, 2019, the Lok Sabha passed the Bill in question in its original draft without any review. Whereas, the lone Lok Sabha MP from NDPP voted for the Bill. It is obvious that the MP had to act as per the unanimous decision of PDA and not on his own.
The whole of January, 2019 was preoccupied by the debates on CAB 2016 and it continues. On 26th January, 2019, the Republic Day of India, the Governor of Nagaland was the Chief Guest at Kohima where there was a record of low turnout of public in attendance. The Independence Day or the Republic Day speech is approved by the State Cabinet, and whoever unfurls the National Flag used to read it out. On 27th January 2019, the front pages of local papers carried the speech of the Governor in which the PDA vehemently defended its June 2018 decision that Nagaland is insulated by the existing laws. In other words, Nagaland needs not worry about opposing or rejecting the CAB 2016.
Whereas, on the spurt of the moment and within 24 hours, the PDA decided ‘to oppose and reject the CAB’ on 28th January, 2019. Till 26th January, 2019, Nagaland remained safe from whatever may become the consequences of CAB when enacted as per the wisdom of PDA. What prompted PDA to lose confidence in Art 371(A) and BEFR the next day? The PDA has been so confident on the safety of Nagaland under Art 371(A) and ILP from June, 2018 till 27th January, 2019. The powers vested in these legal provisions remained the same and will continue to remain so. The PDA does not need to undermine our constitutional provisions.
During this period of 8 months, the States of Meghalaya, Mizoram and Manipur made it clear to Union Govt. that the Bill is rejected. Whereas, PDA had voted for the Bill in Lok Sabha on 8.1.2019 and after 20 days PDA retracted and decided to reject the Bill. How PDA thought that within 20 days time, the Naga protective laws have lost its teeth to bite? This very inconsistent political stance of PDA reminds me of an old Naga adage. A bird by name ‘Khrov?’ has the habit of laying egg on one ridge and hatches on the other ridge. What is the logic or legal benefit it bears for PDA to reject the Bill when it has already voted for the Bill in Lok Sabha?
Look at the languages of PDA and NDPP as I watched. How incoherent and shameless for them to say that it has never supported the CAB when PDA had voted for it on 8.1.2019. Do PDA/NDPP believe that the people of Nagaland have forgotten what you have made CAB 2016 to be a powerful Bill 20 days ago and now awaiting for the Raja Sabha to make it into an Act? Can your decision on 28.1.2019 undo what you had done on 8.1.2019? Yet, quoting a news report dated 2.2.2019 ‘the NDPP and the PDA Govt. had ‘never supported the CAB at any point of time’. What do PDA/NDPP mean by voting for the Bill and yet called it not supporting? In the political parlance of PDA/NDPP, what do you mean by voting for? Tell the Nagas.
I also question those NGOs and Civil Organisations who responded to the so-called consultative meeting sponsored by PDA on 31.1.2019 in which the same issue was discussed and resolved. Are you, the participants, convinced that PDA had practically opposed the Bill at any point of time till it was passed in Lok Sabha? Are you confident that your joint resolution adopted on that day can undo what was done on 8.1.2019? Which one of you, the PDA or the respondents is taking which one for a ride? With such integrity, can you really defend for the interest of the State? Its time for Tribal Hohos and NGOs to come out of our cocoons and call a spade spade.
Figuratively speaking, a single MP in a House of 540 odd MPs is like throwing a pebble in a pond. The PDA staging a walk out by an MP from voting when the Bill was voted cannot change the scenario in Parliament. Yet, it is a record so registered which is historical and significant. Indeed it matters in parliamentary practices and so also doing not matters.
The PDA/NDPP is proved never embarrassed, hesitant or restraint to tell lies. Yet, it is painful for the sensible people to observe how the highest authorities have become very articulated and professional liars. It would have been more respectable for these authorities to admit its folly and appreciate the wisdom of those States and others who are talking sense while eating its vomit. Trying to defend its designed treachery has dented its image deeper. Such attempts to escape from blame with immature and evasive statements are like ostrich hiding in the bush. Yet, opposing the Bill by anybody is better than not.
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