Editorial

Contentious Amendment Bill

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 9/11/2019 11:27:53 AM IST

 Three major partners of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance(NEDA)- Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio ( Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party),  Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma(National People’s Party) and Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga(Mizo National Front)-have expressed opposition to the Citizen’s Amendment Bill(CAB) at the fourth conclave of NEDA in Guwahati. The fact that both Neiphiu Rio( Nagaland chief minister) and Conrad Sangma(Meghalaya chief minister)-have openly expressed dissent over CAB may put the BJP on a slippery ground in the north east. Rio termed CAB as “highly controversial” and a potential threat on the demography of the north east. He reminded Shah that all north east states had earlier resolved to oppose the enactment of CAB. Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma on the other hand, urged upon Shah to first take all north east states into confidence before attempting to push through its legislation. Sangma expressed apprehensions that CAB could open the doors for exodus of non-Muslim Bangladeshis. Sangma was apprehensive that CAB could affect the Sixth Schedule governing tribal areas under it.  The issue of enactment of CAB is most significant in Assam where the non-Muslim immigrants were promised citizenship by the BJP. Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga urged upon Shah to exclude the north east from the purview of CAB and even said that those supporting the “contentious bill” were on the “verge of suicide.” Zoramthanga maintained that CAB would have adverse impact on the north east which remains vulnerable. While espousing enactment of CAB, union home minister and BJP national president Amit Shah assured the states that their concerns were unfounded.   While trying to drum up support for the controversial bill, Shah allayed fears that enactment of CAB would affect Article 371 and Inner Line Permit(ILP). He also emphasised the distinction between Article 370 pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir and Article 371( special status) on the ground that while Article 370 was a temporary provision, Article 371 is a permanent provision. Shah assured BJP’s north east partners that enactment of CAB wouldn’t affect the above provisions and for added emphasis, assured that the centre would take care of such concerns. The union home minister further emphasised that   the Centre intends to expel all illegal immigrants not just from Assam but the entire country.  The CAB proposes to set new terms to provide citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Bill lapsed earlier this year after the BJP-led Centre did not table it in the Rajya Sabha. Now, the government wants to reintroduce the bill in Parliament. While both Assam Accord and NRC kept March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for granting citizenship to foreigners, Shah had stated that CAB would have December 31, 2014, as the deadline. The Assam unit of the BJP has indicated that enactment of CAB would pave the way for the entry of Hindus from Bangladesh, who had been left out of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) for Assam released in August. Most of the over 19 lakh left out of NRC are believed to be mostly Bangladeshi Hindus, a vote bank that BJP has been wooing. Whether the three chief ministers have accepted  Shah’s assurances to their concerns remains to be seen but in the end the primary political objective of providing Indian citizenship to non-Muslims vis-a-vis the consequences of demographic changes appears to have won the day. 

 

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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