‘Bill not connected to Art 371(A), ILP rules’
Dimapur, July 16: The Leader of Opposition, TR Zeliang has asked Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio to clearly spell out on what grounds the State Cabinet had decided not to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016.
The State Cabinet on June 5 after discussing the Citizenship Amendment Bill has placed on record under Agenda 10 that Nagaland is protected under Article 371(A) of the Constitution of India and the ILP Regulations. However, the Cabinet said if the proposed amendment goes against the interest of the Nagas, it will oppose such amendments. “Otherwise, Government of Nagaland will not interfere in national policies,” it decided.
In a letter to the Chief Minister, the opposition leader pointed out that Article 371(A) which 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 is in no way connected to the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016.
Zeliang also pointed out that the Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 to provide citizenship to illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who are of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian extraction unlike the Inner Line Permit which only provides access to outsiders for inward travel into Nagaland.
The opposition leader insisted that when infiltration of illegal immigrants into the State has been taking place unabated, relying on unconfirmed hypothesis such as protection under Article 371(A) of the Constitution of India and the ILP Regulations is a grievous fallacy.
“I am of the strong opinion that minute of the Cabinet meeting under Agenda No. 10 contains objectives which are contradictory and inconsistent in itself where it states that “if the proposed amendment goes against goes against the interest of the Nagas, the Government of Nagaland will oppose such amendments,” he said.
According to Zeliang, this reveals the fact that despite growing opposition of the Bill, the State Cabinet in its meeting had either decided not to oppose the said Bill intentionally or had taken the decision without understanding the content of the said Bill, its significance and possible ramifications.
“This resolution under Agenda No. 10 possibly reveals the ignorance of the State Cabinet and thus, indecisiveness on the contentious matter or even worse, the decision was taken out of compulsion to gratify the Central Government at the cost of the Naga people,” he claimed.
Maintaining that if the Bill is beneficial for the Naga, the State Government must support it, Zeliang observed that the Cabinet conclusion that the “government of Nagaland will not interfere in national policies” without understanding the implications of the Bill is a clear threat on the Nagas and their identity.
“…as Chief Minister of the State, you are expected to clearly spell out on what grounds the State Cabinet had decided not to oppose the said Bill,” Zeliang said in the letter to the CM. (Page News Service)