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Citizenship Amendment Bill

Nagaland Chief Minister moves government resolution against Citizenship Bill

Kohima | Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Saturday tabled a government resolution in the state Assembly which outrightly rejected Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), 2016.

Moving the resolution in the ongoing assembly session, Rio said that the bill is being pursued by the Central government for enactment, despite opposition and rejection by the governments, political parties, tribal organizations, civil societies and others in the North East including Nagaland.

The protestors are deeply concerned with the protection and preservation of indigenous tribes from being demographically overwhelmed by conferment of citizenship on illegal immigrants as envisaged by the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

The resolution proposes to sternly oppose and outrightly reject the Citizenship Amendment Bill which should not be implemented in Nagaland as it will impact the unique history and status of the Nagas under the Constitution of India.

The citizenship bill that provides for according Indian citizenship to Hindus,Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after seven years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently,even if they do not possess any document,could not be tabled in Rajya Sabha in the recently concluded budget session and is set to lapse.

Some BJP leaders have said the bill was still on their agenda.

The resolution also expresses solidarity with the states and communities of the northeast in their struggle against the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Bill since it has the potential of changing the demographic profile which will be against the interest of indigenous tribes in the region and can divest them of their constitutionally guaranteed political, cultural and economic rights.

Rio said that assembly through the resolution would re-affirm the constitutional guarantee given by Article 371(A) of the Constitution, which is the part and parcel of the historic 16 Point Agreement that led to formation of Nagaland state and protects, defends and safeguards the customary way of life of Nagas, our right to land and its resources etc.

The resolution also reiterates the constitutional position as aforesaid that, except the indigenous population in Nagaland, nobody is entitled to own land and resources in our State, that has been guaranteed not only by Article 371 A (1)(a) of the constitution but also by the Inner Line Permit Notification issued under the Bengal and Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873, which was included and reiterated as Point No.16 of the 16 point agreement.

Once adopted, the government would authorize the Speaker to communicate the content of the resolution to Parliament.

During discussions on the resolution, Opposition NPF MLAs– Imkong L Imchen, Dr Imtiwapang, Yitachu, B S Nganglang, Dr Chumben Murry and Moatoshi– maintained that the opposition bench also fully supports the resolution.

They, however, said it should be passed as the resolution of the assembly and not as a government resolution.

They were of the view that Article 371(A) of the constitution does not have the protective effect against Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016.

However, the treasury bench members including Ministers–Tongpang Ozukum, Neiba Kronu, Temjen Imna Along, G Kaito Aye, Toshiwungtung and Imnatiba– supported the five-point resolution while asserting that the government is determined to protect the rights of Nagas as enshrined under Article 371(A).

They also called upon the opposition to join hands in unitedly taking up the issue concerning the Nagas.

Amidst deliberations, the assembly deputy speaker Zhaleo Rio adjourned the house for the day while announcing that further discussions on the resolution before passing it would continue on February 25.

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