Editorial

Citizenship crisis

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/13/2019 12:34:10 PM IST

 With the exception of Tripura and Assam which have supported the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019, Nagaland where BJP is a coalition partner and Arunachal Pradesh where BJP is the ruling party, have urged the Centre to review the bill while BJP-led coalition in Manipur and Meghalaya where BJP is a coalition partner and Mizoram, a member of BJP’s NEDA, have passed assembly resolutions in opposing the bill. The controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, seeks to give citizenship to Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jains, Parsis, and Sikhs from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who came to India on or before December 31, 2014. The BJP has taken up the bill not because it is concerned about persecution of religious minorities in the above named countries but because it wants to seal the votes of Bangladeshi Hindu immigrants in the north east, particularly Assam. Hindus are a majority population in Assam, Tripura and Sikkim—three of the seven north eastern states. However, a majority of them would not allow return of other Hindus to their land. A terrific job crisis and lack of means for earning in the northeast are the reasons why these states opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The push came after prime minister Narendra Modi’s rooted for non-Muslims, especially Hindus, in the northeast. The bill has created an existential crisis for the BJP with all its major allies threatening to snap alliances with the saffron party. If the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill gets cleared in the Rajya Sabha, there is every possibility of all allies of the BJP in the region withdrawing support to the NDA government. However, that may not necessarily mean that the NDA government would topple. Rather, such a move could serve as a rallying point against the BJP in the 2019 parliamentary elections. In the region, the fallout of the passage of the bill could easily trigger a backlash against BJP. Even if the governments of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura might survive, the BJP could lose Manipur if supporting alliance partners decide to quit the coalition government. In the nearby states, BJP could be forced to withdraw its ministers from Meghalaya. However, in the case with Nagaland, the BJP enjoys the advantage of being wooed by both the ruling NDPP and the opposition NPF. The ‘concern’ of the BJP on persecution of other non-Muslim religious communities is contradictory with what it’s Hindutvawadi brigade is doing at home where religious minorities are persecuted and lynched on suspicions of either transporting/smuggling cow or eating beef. Furthermore, the Citizenship bill is clearly anti-Muslim as those belonging to this community are excluded from being granted citizenship under the amendment. Since the bill is aimed against a particular religion, it violates the very spirit of India as a secular and democratic nation as enshrined in the constitution. The BJP has exposed its agenda of dividing society along communal lines in order to weaken the society. The north east has 25 Lok Sabha seats and out of which the BJP chief Amit Shah had boasted that BJP would win 21. However, that confidence does not appear to be based on the evolving ground situation. The AGP had withdrawn support to the BJP government in Assam and that has accelerated the momentum and anti-BJP feelings among the people of the region.

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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