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Time to act is now or never, says Zeliang on CAB

T R Zeliang new

Dimapur, January 29: Opposition leader TR Zeliang on Tuesday made it clear the Naga People’s Front (NPF) unequivocally refuses to accept the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 and called upon political parties from NE region to come together and oppose the Bill in one voice for a brighter future of the North-East people.
“The time to act is now or never,” he stated.
Addressing the NE Region’s political parties convention on Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 at Hotel Vivanta, Guwahati today, Zeliang said today North-East India is burning because of the introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Bill and subsequently passed by Lok Sabha recently despite all sort of agitation launched by different political parties from the region.
It is important for all of us to come together and show the Government of India that we unequivocally refuse to accept the Citizenship Amendment Bill in North-East India, he said.
The NPF leader also disproved the claim from some quarters that the Inner Line Permit and Article 371A will protect Nagaland State from the CAB.
Stating that many have opined that ILP safeguards the people from the Citizenship Amendment Bill, Zeliang said ILP only provides access to outsiders for inward travel into North-East States (eg: Nagaland) and does not touch upon the subject of granting citizenship to a foreigner who has resided in India for a certain period of time (6 years under the Citizenship Amendment Bill).
“The Inner Line Permit (ILP) derived from the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR), 1873 also known as Regulation 5 of 1873 is in operation in my home State, Nagaland but there is a huge difference between Citizenship Amendment Bill and the ILP. This is because of the fact that acquiring citizenship of a particular country and obtaining permission for access to a particular region of the country are two completely different issues,” he stated.
Citing the example of Dimapur, the commercial hub of Nagaland, Zeliang said Dimapur is not under the ambit of the ILP regulations and undocumented immigrants, especially IBIs have flooded the District which is known to all. “Not only Dimapur, illegal immigrants have infiltrated even the most interior part of the State. Going by this reality, we cannot wholly rely on BEFR 1873 or ILP Regulations and to say that ILP safeguards the people from the Citizenship Amendment Bill is unreasonable.”
On Article 371(A), Zelaing said it deals with matters relating to religious or social practices of the Nagas, their customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law, and ownership and transfer of land and its resources; and is in no way connected to the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016.
There is no mention of citizenship in the said Article and after the Citizenship Amendment Bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha and becomes an Act, the hope of using Article 371(A) as ammunition to oppose the Act will be a long, expensive and futile exercise. The same thing may apply to Assam Accord or Mizo Accord, he added.
The leader of opposition was accompanied by NPF MLAs, Imkong L. Imchen; Kuzholuzo Neinu; Y. Vikheho Swu; Yitachu; C.L John & Dr Chumben Murry, and NPF working president Apong Pongener and NPF spokesperson Achumbemo Kikon. (Page News Service)