Post Mortem

Citizenship (Amendment)Act 2019: Why is it problematic?

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/16/2019 11:27:06 AM IST

 The Northeastern states have erupted in spontaneous protests as soon as the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was passed in both houses of the parliament. Assam has been the epicentre of protest. The reason is that only seven out of thirty-three districts in the state will be exempted from the Bill (now Act). Large part of Assam which are non-tribal areas will still be effected by this new law. The region saw widespread protests when the Bill was first introduced in January 2019.This new law enables Indian citizenship for undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. While many called the amendment “anti-muslim”, “constitutional blunder”, “an attack on secularism “, “unconstitutional “ & “anti-minority”. Northeastern people are fear of losing their native identity to a possible influx of refugees. To prevent the flare-up, the Modi-Government made several concessions. It exempted all tribal areas covered under Six Schedule from the Bill. It also exempted states like Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and much of Nagaland that comes under the Inner Line Permit (ILP) rule. The Government even extended to Manipur state and Dimapur district in Nagaland overnight. 

In Assam, trouble started long before, when the partition took place, a number of Bengali migrants came and settled in this region. This created more resentment among the locals. After a long struggle, the famous Assam Accord was signed in 1985.Under this, 1971 was set as the cut-off year for granting citizenship to illegal migrants in the state. With Citizenship Amendment Bill, the Government has now extended the deadline for non-Muslim migrants to 31st December 2014.It looks like a clear violation of Assam Accord and they are afraid that there will be influx of refugees in the state. There is another element to this. The NRC or National Register of Citizens, more than Seventeen Lakh people have been identified as illegal immigrants by NRC and many of them are Hindus. They will now be eligible to become citizens under this new Act/Law. This is the most problematic part. Since the NRC was a long-standing demand of Assamese people, they see the Citizenship Amendment Act as a betrayal. 

In Nagaland too, NSF or Naga Students’ Federation spearheaded the protest against the Bill. Though the state of Nagaland has ILP (Inner Line Permit) rule, the state cannot able to control or prevent the influx of illegal immigrants till today.

Now unfortunately, the CAB is passed, the demography of Northeast India will change dramatically in the next few years. This new law does not look fair and equal. 

Openthung Kithan, 4th Mile, Diphupar, Dimapur 


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