Opposition raise concern on CAB, ILP

Our Correspondent
Kohima | February 22

The opposition bench today voiced their concern on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), 2016, Inner Line Permit (ILP) and Naga Political issue on the floor of the House.

Initiating the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address on the Floor of the House, MLA Imkong L. Imchen recalled that Nagaland was carved out of the political agreement and the 16 Point Agreement brought about statehood while the rights of the Naga people was enshrined in the Constitution through Article 371(A).

However, he cited the examples of Government of India’s unilateral decision of putting Nagaland under Ministry of Home Affairs from Ministry of External Affairs and also stopping the State Assembly from framing own rules and regulation on natural resources as well as the removal of special category state funding pattern.

In this, he reiterated that Nagaland was created not like other states of India but out of the political agreement guaranteed with special rights.
The most important provision of the Article is right over the land and its resources, which even Mizoram does not have despite other clauses being the same. Imkong however lamenting that GoI has been saying that NLA does not have the competency to frame own rules on land and resources.
The Central government and legal luminaries have been interpreting the provisions of Article 371(A) to their own whims and interest abrogating the rights of Naga people, he also alleged.

He said that the 16 Point Agreement was signed out of the political necessity between the GoI and Nagas and not with the legal experts and bureaucrats. Imchen also cited an instance of how the Guwahati High Court recently took up a suo-motto case on the provisions of Article 371(A).
He therefore contented that if the State does not oppose the passage of the CAB 2016, it will be imposed upon the Nagas like other Central laws.

Towards this, Imchen urged that a special session of the House be convened to deliberate on the provisions of Article 371(A) for the welfare of the Nagas in general.

MLA Chotisuh Sazo accused the PDA government of sleeping under the shadow of Article 371 (A) of the Indian Constitution and ILP as per Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873 on the issue of CAB 2016. He apprehended that the Bill once passed “will directly or indirectly affect us badly.”

Stating that many non-Nagas especially illegal migrants mostly from Bangladesh are here in Nagaland, he said “This is a serious concern for all of us.” Likewise Tripura, very soon they will over populate us (indigenous people) unless we rigorously check it now,” he added.

On ILP, he requested the leader of the house and home minister to give an assurance to tighten and strictly implement the ILP regulations and give stern instruction to the police and administrative officers.

Touching on Naga political issue, MLA Toyang Chang said what the Nagas yearn today is an honourable solution, peace and the rights and identity of the Nagas is protected.

He pointed out that despite all the consultative meetings with mass based organisation, civil societies, tribal hohos who have come together for the common cause, the union government is not serious enough in resolving and for which the talk is going on for the past two decades.

Opposition leader T. R Zeliang in his reference to the Governor’s address on Indo-Naga issue said that the present government has not done anything concrete in their 11 months in the government.

He also added that the softening stand by the PDA government on the issue of integration has set a dangerous precedence for the Nagas and their future. MLA Yitachu suggested that to protect the interest of the citizens of Nagaland, everyone should come together and reject the CAB in totality.

Rio for full discussion on CAB

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio today told the floor of the House that full discussion on Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 will take place, and is likely figure in the assembly proceeding of February 23. Informing this on the floor of the House, Rio also hinted passing of resolution by the House on this matter. Winding up the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address through his reply wherein the House later unanimously adopted the motion, Rio reiterated that the Nagas are fully protected by Article 371 (A). He specifically mentioned point No. 16 of the 16 Point Agreement, which is incorporated in Article 371 (A), where BEFR 1873 Act remains in force and the Act protects the social practices, religion, customary law, civil and criminal justice, ownership and transfer of land and its resources. The Chief Minister also urged all concerned to participate actively and voice out their thoughts during the forthcoming meeting with Interlocutor, R.N Ravi on February 27. He agreed on the suggestion made by MLA, Imkong L. Imchen to hold a special session for Article 371 (A). “If we unite we can save our people,” he said.
(With DIPR inputs)