6-hr Nagaland shutdown against CAB passed off peacefully

The usually busy Nyamo Lotha Road, Dimapur wears a deserted look during the six-hour bandh called by NSF against CAB on December 14. (Morung photo)

The usually busy Nyamo Lotha Road, Dimapur wears a deserted look during the six-hour bandh called by NSF against CAB on December 14. (Morung photo)

Dimapur, December 14 (MExN):  Schools and colleges were closed, markets were shut and vehicles remained largely off roads in parts of Nagaland on Saturday amid a six-hour shutdown call given by the Naga Students' Federation (NSF).

 The sudden shutdown was called by NSF to show resentment against the passing of Citizenship Amendment Bill on December 13.

Students appearing examination, medical staff on duty, media personnel, and those having weddings were exempted from the bandh.

State capital Kohima  wore a deserted look with most of the commercial establishments not opening due to the shutdown.

In commercial capital Dimapur, the Saturday’s 6-hour bandh from 6 am to 12 noon in passed peacefully in Dimapur.

Student volunteers stationed at various strategic locations were seen monitoring vehicular movements and halting it till 12 noon for those who were not exempted from the purview of the bandh.

 In town area, the highest number of stranded vehicles was witnessed at Nagarjan point where a good number of security personnel were also seen.

 However, by around 11:50 am, large number of vehicles were seen queued at some fuel stations to refill even as the district administration and oil companies had already assured the public of enough stock.

Since pedestrian movement was not strictly enforced, a huge number of shoppers had already flocked the stretch of Nyamo Lotha Road by 11:30 am.

Office bearers of Dimapur Naga Students’ Union which enforced the bandh in Dimapur said there was no untoward incident and that it passed peacefully.

Meanwhile, the NSF  in a press release issued by its Vice President, Dievi Yano and General Secretary, Liremo R Kikon, on Friday condemned the action of the Government of India for passing the bill “without taking into account the sentiments and plea of the indigenous inhabitants of the North East States.”

The NSF stated that it would “never support CAB which is the latest weapon of the Centre to divide the North-Eastern people on concessional lines.”

“The NSF does not believe in classification of illegal immigrants on religious lines as the NSF regards all illegal immigrants as criminals and must be treated accordingly. The Act has torn the very secular nature of the Constitution” it added. 

The NSF also condemned the three Naga Members of Parliament—Tokheho Yepthomi (Lok Sabha) and KG Kenye (Rajya Sabha) from Nagaland; and Lorhe S Pfoze (Lok Sabha) from Manipur, “who spoke and voted in favour of the Bill when it was tabled in both the houses of the Parliament without considering the threat and the consequences which the Bill poses against the Indigenous inhabitants of the North Eastern states.”

The federation demanded that the three MPs publicly state the rationale behind their support for the Bill and also to explain to the public as to why the Act will not affect the people they represent.

Stating that the Act is “discriminatory, anti-indigenous, anti-minority,” it demanded that the entire North Eastern states should be left out from the purview of the Act.

It added that the federation would “spare no effort and together with the NESO, take necessary democratic and legal measures to ensure that the law does not take effect on even a small pocket in the entire North-East region.”  

On December 13, a candlelight vigil organised by the Dimapur Naga Students Union in Dimapur o to extend solidarity to the north-eastern states affected by the amendment to the Citizenship Act.