Citizenship Bill: Zeliang asks CM to clarify cabinet decision

NEW DELHI, JUL 16 (NPN) | Publish Date: 7/17/2018 12:17:56 AM IST
LoP in the state assembly T.R.Zeliang has picked up the issue of Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 through which BJP seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Bangladeshis who can prove they have stayed in India for six years. This bill has been opposed by various states in the north east including BJP allies in Assam and Meghalaya.
Against the backdrop of chief minister Neiphiu Rio reiterating that Nagaland will only oppose the Bill if it infringed upon the rights of Nagas under Article 371A or the ILP, Zeliang threw the gauntlet by pointing out that the Bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 15, 2016, seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 to provide citizenship to illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who are of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian extraction “unlike the Inner Line Permit (ILP) which only provides access to outsiders for inward travel into Nagaland”.
Zeliang pointed out that Article 371 (A) was in no way connected to the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 in the first place . He reminded that Article 371A dealt with matters relating to religious or social practices of the Nagas, their customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law and ownership and transfer of land and its resources.
Hitting out at Rio, the NPF leader said when infiltration of illegal immigrants into the state has been taking place unabated, Rio’s reliance on unconfirmed hypothesis such as protection under Article 371(A) of the Constitution of India and the ILP Regulations “was a grievous fallacy”.  He opined that Cabinet Meeting Agenda No.10 contained objectives that were contradictory and inconsistent in itself. “This reveals the fact that, despite growing opposition of the Bill, the State Cabinet in its Meeting had either decided not to oppose the said Bill intentionally or had taken the decision without understanding the content of the said Bill, its significance and possible ramifications,” Zeliang said. Zeliang said the cabinet resolution under Agenda No. 10 “possibly” reveals the ignorance of the State Cabinet adding that the Cabinet decision was contradictory and inconsistent in itself. He said this revealed that, despite growing opposition to the Bill, the State Cabinet had either decided not to oppose it intentionally, or had taken the decision without understanding its content, significance and possible ramifications. Zeliang maintained that the decision revealed the ignorance of the Cabinet and thus the “indecisiveness” on the contentious matter or, even worse, the decision was taken out of compulsion, to gratify the Central government at the cost of Naga people. 
Asking the State government to support the Bill, if it was beneficial for the Nagas, Zeliang however, said the decision to not interfere in national policies without understanding the implications of the controversial Bill was a clear threat to the Nagas and their identity. 

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