CAA vis-à-vis the NE

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/19/2020 12:51:49 PM IST

 Undeniably, despite the efforts of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre to convince critics in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) by assuring that it is not religion-centric and that no community faces any threat of losing Indian citizenship; opposition against the Act is growing. Punjab and Kerala have already passed resolutions in opposing the bill besides taking the matter to the Supreme Court. Other non-BJP states such as Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra have voiced their disagreement with the CAA, as well as National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR). How the NRC or NPR come into play because they cannot be applied without having a proper list about the citizens as contained in a register of citizens. Both NPR and NRC would have to be carried out under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955. However, since the Citizenship Act of 1955 has been Amendment through the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, the nationwide objections that it is discriminatory against a particular religion continue to be opposed. Opposition parties have maintained that the CAA, NPR or NRC is a package which is unconstitutional, as it specifically targets the poor, the SC/STs and linguistic and religious minorities. They said the NPR is the basis for the NRC and so are demanding the withdrawal of the CAA and the immediate stoppage of the nationwide NRC/NPR. The north eastern states are also opposed to the CAA. However, the Modi government appears to have won over the regional political parties by adding certain clauses in the CAA that exempts areas under 6th Schedule and states having Inner Line Permit(BEFR 1873). This essentially means the refugees can neither reside or settle in the 10 autonomous districts, nor enjoy benefits extended to the tribals, even if they are provided with Indian citizenship. Further, the laws made by ADCs with the powers bestowed upon them by the Sixth Schedule will not be scrapped by the CAB. Assam has three areas under the 6th schedule- Bodoland Territorial Council(BTC) Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council(KAAC) and Dima Hasao Autonomous District Council(DHADC). Besides Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram, the ILP has come into effect in Manipur from January 1, 2020, making it the fourth northeastern state. Public including political parties in Assam and Meghalaya are also demanding ILP in their respective states. Opposition against CAA in Assam is because the locals fear that the new breed of immigrants-turned-Indian citizens can legally claim benefits and privileges accorded to citizens. Also, the CAA is nullifying the Assam Accord of 1985 which stipulated that those who came to India before March 24,1971 can be granted Indian citizenship. The CAA however extends the cut off to December 31,2014. The Centre cannot expect to effect CAA only in non-6th schedule areas of Assam while exempting all other north eastern states. The people of Assam will not tolerate their state becoming a dumping ground for illegal immigrants just because some political parties want to reap these vote banks. If CAA is applicable in Assam, it also leaves a big open door for the lakhs of illegal immigrants-turned-Indian citizens to reside in any part of the region as employees of the government or private institutions. The protests in Nagaland against CAA, is therefore, a positive sign of neighbourly concern and solidarity. If Assam suffers the other neighbouring states too will suffer.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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