Post Mortem

I.L.P. and C.A.B: Fact versus fiction

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/16/2019 11:27:04 AM IST

 The Inner Line Permit and Citizenship Amendment Bill (now the Citizenship Amendment Act, but for the purposes of this article, C.A.B., due to its familiarity, will be used) are two totally different things. The C.A.B. is a law passed by Parliament whereas the I.L.P. is a Permit required by a law, specifically, the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1863. 

The B.E.F.R., 1863 was a regulation passed by the Colonial British India Government to control its economic interests in parts of India’s Eastern regions; and also as an instrument to isolate many of the indigenous people of the northeast from the influence of the rest of erstwhile British India and the modern world. It was not a regulation to protect the Tribals of the Northeast of modern India. The proof lies in the fact that the Colonial Government changed the demarcated Inner Line as and when it suited their economic interests; the fact that nowhere in the B.E.F.R.,1863 are the words, “Tribe” or “Tribal” mentioned and the fact that the Colonial Government never established a school above the Primary Level within the boundaries of the Inner Line. Among others, some of the clauses of the B.E.F.R.specify that:- non native persons are required to obtain a pass, called the “Inner Line Permit”, to travel within the limits of the Inner Line and are not permitted to to purchase or own land without permission of the government within the said line. That this Regulation has been made a law by a recent act of Parliament makes no difference, except that, while previously, the B.E.F.R. could be abolished by the Union Cabinet, now, it can only be removed by an act of Parliament.

The C.A.B. on the other hand, is a law which amends the Citizenship Act,1955 in the following ways.

(i) The Citizenship Act, 1955 ( hereinafter C.A.) clearly states that anyone who has entered India illegally cannot obtain Indian Citizenship; the C.A.B. states that anyone who enters India illegally, from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, who is not a Muslim, but is a Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian is eligible to become an Indian Citizen.

(ii) The C.A. states that one must be a legal migrant and a resident in India for 11 years before being eligible to apply for Indian Citizenship; the C.A.B. reduces this period to 6 years and says that illegal migrants, provided they are not Muslims, are eligible for citizenship.

(iii) The C.A. states that all those who were born in India on or after 26th. January, 1950, (1st. January 1966, in the case of Assam), and are not the children of illegal immigrants, are Indian Citizens; and any one having even one illegal immigrant parent is not an Indian Citizen, and is not eligible for Indian Citizenship. The C.A.B. changes that and states that any Illegal Immigrant, provided he is not a Muslim, who entered India on or before 31st.December 2014, is eligible for Indian Citizenship.

(iv) The C.A. states that any Illegal Immigrant must be deported, the C.A.B. states that only Illegal Muslim Immigrants will be deported.

WHY THE I.L.P. IS USELESS AND THE C.A.B. DANGEROUS: Many people in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Nagaland and, more recently, Manipur, are living under the illusion that the I.L.P. will protect them from the C.A.B. What these fools fail to realise is that any Indian Citizen is eligible to apply for an I.L.P. and can travel and conduct business freely once he is issued one. The only difference is that he has to go through the minor hassle of renewing it periodically. The only real drawback for a non indigenous Indian Citizen is his inability to purchase or own land within the boundaries of the Inner Line, but that is easily overcome with a long term lease with the concerned landowner.

In Nagaland, the same fools are celebrating the extension of the Inner Line to cover the entire district of Dimapur; what these nincompoops fail to realise is that the I.L.P. restriction of ownership of land will only really be applicable to the land falling under the ownership of the surrounding villages; non indigenous Nagas have owned land in the cadastral areas of Dimapur Town before the nation of India was born, the government is not going to confiscate it and give it to us. Furthermore the exemption of the I.L.P. for non indigenous people who had settled in Dimapur prior to 1979, an arbitrary year, allegedly first proposed by a purported Illegal Bangladeshi Hindu Immigrant (the irony!) will see only the real contributors to the economy of Dimapur, the masons, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, barbers, tailors, cobblers, sharecroppers, domestic servants, thela and rickshawallahs etc., going through the harassment of obtaining an I.L.P. This same problem will crop up in the Manipur Valley.

A bigger bunch of fools are those who are parroting the phrase that, “The I.L.P. and Sixth Schedule Areas are exempt from the C.A.B.” These brainless robots are not only stupid, but dangerous. The C.A.B. states that these areas are exempt, but what it really means is that the Illegal Bangladeshi Hindu Immigrants who are residing within the boundaries of the Inner Line and Sixth Schedule Areas are disqualified from applying for Indian Citizenship. All these I.B.H.I.s have to do is temporarily move out from these areas and apply for Citizenship from anywhere else in India. Once they are granted citizenship, which the C.A.B. automatically guarantees them, they can apply for I.L.P.s as bona fide Indian citizens and carry on where they left off.

But what is more dangerous for the indigenous people of, not only the Northeastern States (who face the most immediate danger), but all of India, is that the C.A.B. aims to create a new class of Indian Citizens, who have no ties to the land and only a cursory allegiance to The Constitution of India and whose real allegiance will lie with the R.S.S./B.J.P. and their Ideology of Hindutva. 

With Citizenship comes the right to vote, the vote gives them the power to choose the Parliamentarians, the Parliamentarians give them the power to make the laws. Just as easily as they made the B.E.F.R. an law, they can easily remove it and all others laws which stand in the way of the the R.S.S. vision of, “One Nation, One Religion, One Law”. SAY NO TO C.A.B.

Kahuto Chishi Sumi, 

General Secretary, Nagaland Indigenous People’s Forum

Richard Haolai, 

Press Secretary, N.I.P.F.

Khehoto Swu, 

Executive Member, North East Indigenous People’s Forum

Dr.Lima Jamir, 

Executive Member, N.E.I.P.F.

Kahovi Sumi, 

General Secretary, Concerned People of Nagaland


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