Anti-Inner Line Permit petition controversy attracts more flak

DIMAPUR, JUN 27 (NPN) | Publish Date: 6/27/2019 11:46:18 AM IST

 PIL filed without BJP’s knowledge: Along

Asserting that it had taken a serious view of the PIL filed by one Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay in Supreme Court against the extension of ILP to Dimapur, BJP unit has clarified that the PIL was filed without its prior knowledge. 

BJP state president and Higher & technical Education minister, Temjen Imna Along claimed that till the media reported about the PIL, the party’s state unit had no knowledge of Upadhyay nor had anyone from BJP Nagaland met him.

Along recalled that Governor P.B. Acharya, in his address to the third session of 13th State Assembly, stated that the government would take legal and administrative steps to streamline the system of issuing ILP and that it would be made applicable in the entire State, including Dimapur. Following this, he claimed that the State government had already worked out the modalities through a committee and that the Home department was in the process of implementing it.

While the intent and decisions of the state government had been actively pursued by PDA partners, Along said the PIL had come as a surprise even to the state BJP. Given BJP’s respect for the demand and outcry of the citizens of Nagaland and Nagas, he said the matter had been viewed with utmost seriousness by BJP. He said BJP Nagaland unit would pursue the matter with the party’s central leadership. In the meantime, he said there should be no doubt about the sincerity and will of BJP Nagaland in ensuring that recommendations of the ILP committee were implemented at the earliest.

State Cong questions BJP unit over PIL

Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) has expressed serious concern over the PIL filed in Supreme Court against extending ILP coverage to Dimapur district by one Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, allegedly a BJP leader. In a press release issued by its communication department, Congress said though BJP Nagaland president Temjen Imna had feigned ignorance about this person, who was also an advocate in Supreme Court, his verified profile, especially his Twitter handle and his constant PIL activism on record, proved that he was a BJP leader.
According to NPCC, the PIL could not have been filed without the knowledge of BJP or without the instigation of some elements living and prospering in Nagaland. It alleged that BJP had so far been successful in engineering social divisions and dividing country to consolidate their vote bank and come to power.  NPCC held the “tearing hurry” of NDPP and BJP coalition government to apply ILP in Dimapur without proper application of mind also responsible for the current situation. Admitting that the State government surely had the power to enforce ILP in Dimapur district, the party, however, asserted that the fundamental rights of those existing bona fide settlers could not be denied nor could the threat to indigenous Naga tribes due to huge influx of illegal migrants overlooked in this given situation.
The party pointed out that the PIL had now triggered serious disturbances in the minds of people living in Nagaland, creating deep fault lines among various communities co existing peacefully for decades. 
It said the issue had added more fuel to CAB threat, even to the extent of having serious ramifications on the Indo-Naga peace process. 
Anticipating the complication in application of ILP, NPCC claimed that it had drawn the attention of people on various public platforms during the recently-concluded Lok Sabha electioneering, but alleged that the attention of the State governments was never there.
Asking the PDA government to always remember that constitutional safeguards and other provisions enjoyed by Nagaland were the results of heavy political price paid by the people, Congress asserted that it would not tolerate any demeaning of Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1873 or putting Article 371 (A) under judicial review as these were the products of political agreements.
NPCC demanded that if BJP Nagaland was really concerned about the interest of Nagas and all other bona fide settlers of Nagaland, then it must ensure withdrawal of PIL filed by one of its party leaders in Supreme Court. Simply BJP denying its connection with Upadhyay would not wish away the troubles ahead for the people, if these PILs allow the judiciary a chance to negate “our rights and safeguards” bestowed by Indian constitution, the party stressed.
And in the event of any unforeseen situation that went against the interest of indigenous people in Nagaland, Congress warned that the State BJP and NDPP would be held fully responsible for their complicity and subservience to BJP high command in Delhi.
WCH warns public uprising, disharmony 
Condemning the filing of PIL, Western Chakhesang Hoho (WCH) has warned that it could invite another public uprising and create social disharmony, for which he would be held solely responsible.
In a statement, WCH president Dietho Rhakho also appreciated the State government’s decision to bring Dimapur under the ambit of ILP, while appealing to the government to stand upright in defending the “historical rights and aspirations” of Nagas. 
Alleging that the PIL was “concocted” with misleading information and wilful misinterpretation of the hospitality shown by Nagas, he claimed that the non-Nagas in Dimapur enjoyed utmost freedom and security, pointing out that almost all business establishments were run by the non-Nagas and were doing very well. “No wonder, people from outside are flooding into Nagaland seeing the good grazing ground, opportunities and friendly atmosphere,” he added.
Rhakho explained that the issue of extending ILP to Dimapur had come up as a precautionary measure in the backdrop of the alarming rate at which illegal immigrants were entering Nagaland through Dimapur. 
He clarified that ILP had nothing to do with interfering with the business activities or security of non-Nagas as projected in the PIL and reported in the media. 
According to him, the purpose of Eastern Bengal Frontal Regulation Act or ILP was to safeguard the rich culture and traditions of Nagas and check illegal entry of “excessive” illegal immigrants into the State. 
Mentioning that the desire of Nagas to extend ILP to Dimapur was not new, the WCH president claimed that many non-Naga communities were in fact quite comfortable with it until the PIL was filed, which had only created misconception.
Further, dismissing the claim of Upadhyay that Dimapur was not a part of Naga Hills as totally absurd, Rhakho recalled that in 1949 when Gopinath Bordoloi was the Premier of Assam, the British government had passed an order for inclusion of Dimapur under Sivasagar district of Assam. 
As a consequence, he said there was an uprising by thousands of Nagas under the aegis of Kohima Sardar Students’ Union led by its president late Goyiepra Kenye, general secretary late JB Jasokie and joint secretary Dr Beilieu Shuya in 1949.
Despite government threats and arrest warrants, the Nagas joined the mass protests and raised slogans like “Dimapur, Nagapur”. The agitation continued until the order was revoked and Dimapur retained under Naga Hills district. Therefore, Dimapur was and would always remain an integral part of Nagaland, he declared.
Rhakho asked that when the people of Nagaland desired the extension of ILP to Dimapur, what was wrong with that. He also questioned how could someone with no background in Nagaland ever think of opposing the people’s desire, and wondered whether there was a conspiracy. 

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