NSF members and students at the sit-in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 at Raj Bhavan, Kohima on May 21. (Morung Photo)
DMAPUR, JUNE 1 (MExN): Extending support to the voices of the indigenous people across the North Eastern states against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) has urged the Nagaland Government to oppose the same keeping the popular wishes and interest of the citizens of the state.
A press statement issued by media cell, NTC on Friday said the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 introduced in the Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 is a matter of serious concern for Nagaland state.
Once the Bill is passed, it will grant citizenship to people who have come to settle from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. This will pertain to minority communities belonging to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians.
Pointing out that the Bill gives opportunity to those religious groups from other countries to return to India and become bona fide citizens of India; the NTC said the proposed Bill is subjective and communal while alleging that it stands for the interest of the Hindus in particular in the context of Indian pluralism overriding secularism.
While granting citizenship on religious consideration is dangerous and against secular principle of India, the NTC also reminded that North-East is highly infested by illegal immigrants particularly from Bangladesh and already heavily burdened with foreigners’ issue and regularisation of these illegal residents has become a direct threat to region’s political future and the survival of its indigenous people, identity, culture and land.
With leading civil organizations along with sensible MLAs cutting across the political parties vehemently protesting across Assam against the Bill, the NTC said the apprehensions of the people of Assam is apparent because of the fact that when the floodgate is opened, the indigenous landowners of Assam will be overwhelmed by those foreigners in due course of time.
The NTC therefore said the protest of the people of Assam under the aegis of AASU is right on time and deserves support from all indigenous communities in North-East India.
It also reminded that with Assam and Nagaland being immediate neighbours, its border, which is and will remain porous, cannot be sealed from infiltration of those illegal people in the long run. “When Assam is flooded with foreigners, Nagaland will become the first victim of the proposed Bill,” it cautioned.
In this connection, the NTC has urged the Government of India to reconsider its policy and not to go against the sentiments of the indigenous population. It also lauded the decision of Meghalaya government to firmly oppose the Citizenship Amendments Bill, 2016.
At the same time, it urged the Nagaland government to oppose the same keeping the popular wishes and interest of the citizens of the state.