On sticky wicket

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/28/2019 12:27:59 PM IST

 Those who have a keen sense on aspects of the law, have consistently maintained that the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill(CAB) 2016 as spearheaded by the Modi government, was particularly meant to transform illegal immigrant Hindu Bangladeshis into bona fide Indian citizens and expected to be the guaranteed vote bank of the BJP. Thus they claim, the CAB 2016 is a distorted amendment of the CAB 1955 and so on. The governor of Nagaland in his Republic Day speech at the state capital on January 26,2019 had echoed the stand of the government of the day on the CAB. In his speech, Governor Acharya reiterated that Nagaland is protected under Article 371 (A) of Constitution of India and the Inner Line Permit mechanism as per Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation(BEFR) Act, 1873 which was reaffirmed as Clause 16 of the 16-Point Agreement. The ruling Progressive Democratic Alliance(PDA) coalition has reiterated that it opposes the CAB but at the same time, did not feel necessary to do anything more in this regard since Nagaland is protected under Article 371A(A) as well as the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation(BEFR)Act 1873 as Inner Line Permit. The opposition Naga People’s Front(NPF) had fired the first political salvo by rejecting the bill and challenging the ruling coalition to pass a resolution. There were several tribe organisations, civil society groups and in particular, the NSF took it up in the form of a bandh. In other parts of the north east too, the entire civil society groups held protests while the North East Students Organisation(NESO) successfully implemented an 12-hour bandh on January 8. The BJP-ruled Manipur adopted an assembly resolution in opposing the bill as did BJP coalition North East Democratic Alliance(NEDA) government in Meghalaya. Even NEDA partner and ruling MNF in Mizoram also passed an assembly resolution in opposing the CAB. States like Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh-which had not passed resolutions, witnessed protest demonstrations in their thousands. The issue of CAB in Nagaland appears to have been camouflaged under Article 371(A) and ILP. By continuing to hold on to the logic that there was no need to pass and resolution since Article 371(A) and ILP protect the people from CAB, the ruling coalition in Nagaland has only managed to unify all organisations including NPF on one page while getting isolated in the bargain, on this issue. The state government continued to parrot the line that Article 371A(A) and BEFR Act 1873 provided sufficient guarantee in safeguarding the protecting the people of the state and for which there was no need to pass any assembly resolution against CAB 2016. As mentioned in various write-ups, knowledgeable personalities and legal experts have categorically rejected the above argument put forth by the state government. It was pointed out that Article 371(A) and also BEFR Act 1873 cannot save Nagaland from CAB 2016 if it ultimately becomes a law when the Rajya Sabha approves it. The experts pointed out when any Act is passed by parliament, other than those pertaining to customary laws and ownership of land and its resources, they have to be followed in Nagaland as 371(A) provide no insulation. On the Governor’s speech that CAB is not be applicable in Nagaland since it has not been passed by the Rajya Sabha. However, once it is passed CAB will be made applicable in Nagaland.

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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