DIMAPUR, OCTOBER 10 (MExN): Following the opposition Naga People’s Front’s (NPF) recent statement slamming the Nagaland Chief Minister and the Nagaland MP to the Lok Sabha for their stand on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) today accused the opposition of continuously misleading the people.
A press release from the NDPP said that the NPF had failed to understand what the provision to be implemented in the CAB was going to be, as stated by the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah.
It informed that the Home Minister had publicly declared that “the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system in force in the NE states will be incorporated in the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill.”
This, it stated, vindicates the stand of the PDA government that the ILP regime and Article 371(A) will protect Nagaland.
“We are all aware that Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland are protected by the ILP regime and it was because of such provisions that the Home Minister has specifically mentioned these states,” it added. It questioned why the NPF has continuously “tried to mislead the people that the ILP regime under the BEFR 1873 cannot protect Nagas and Nagaland from the proposed CAB.”
It further questioned what the former Chief Minister and now Leader of Opposition, TR Zeliang was doing when the proposed CAB was being formulated in Parliament in 2016 while the state was under his guard. “What was the ruling NPF party doing that they have suddenly decided to become the guardians of the Naga people against the proposed CAB when the Bill was actually drawn during their reign?” it posed.
It said that Zeliang’s government did not protest then, while “they are trying to portray themselves as the champions of the people” now. “Perhaps they were too scared of the GoI and the NDA government of cutting off their lifeline of funds,” it claimed.
The NDPP meanwhile stated that if ever the GoI decides to remove special rights guaranteed to Nagaland, the NPF would be held solely responsible “because if the Nagas ourselves keep insisting that these rights do not or cannot protect us, then we stand the risk of losing these rights.”
It further asked the NPF to declare if they have a better alternative to protect the Nagas “instead of condemning the sacrifices of those visionary Naga leaders who led the fight for our rights in the past decades.”
It meanwhile clarified that the new provision to be added in the proposed CAB still does not say that the proposed CAB will not be applicable to Nagaland nor will it disallow those people who are granted citizenship under the amended Citizenship Act of 1955 from entering/visiting the sate with valid necessary documents.
This reason, the NDPP stated, has prompted the PDA to stand firm that Article 3712(A) and the BEFR 1873 will protect the state and its people, while moving towards extension of ILP regime to Dimapur district.
It further stated that “history will not forget how the opposition NPF betrayed the people of Nagaland by having boycotted the all important consultative meeting on CAB on January 31, 2019 of all apex organisations and the state government where the resolution to reject the CAB had been unanimously passed.”
Citing the the NPF walking out of the assembly on February 25, 2019; and their boycott of the consultative meeting on July 17, 2019, the NDPP accused the opposition of putting party politics before the welfare of the Naga people.
While acknowledging that the opposition should highlight matters of public importance, the NDPP however termed it unbecoming of any political party to keep attacking the government of the day at their whims and fancy on issues that have already been exhaustively discussed and actions have been put in motion.
Finally, the NDPP reminded that it was Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio who highlighted the concerns of the State and the region to the Union Home Minister in New Delhi and during the NEC and NEDA meets after which the Centre had assured that the concerns would be addressed.
“At a time when the entire Naga society is tirelessly working for achieving an honorable political solution to the vexed Indo-Naga political issue, it is shocking to observe that the NPF suddenly decides to create noise by racking up an issue where it had miserably failed the people and dwell into its politics of trying to mislead the public with lies,” it said.