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Citizenship is up to central govt. — Temjen Toy

By EMN Updated: Sep 21, 2019 11:41 pm
Temjen Toy

Eastern Mirror Desk

Dimapur, Sep. 21: Chief Secretary Temjen Toy on Saturday said that citizenship was not for a state to decide but depend on the central government.

Speaking at the regional symposium on ‘Citizenship Amendment Bill-Impact on Northeast India’ organised at Dimapur Government College, the chief secretary touched upon the issues, concerns and challenges related to Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB).

He acknowledged that there were many criticisms concerning the credentials of CAB and Article 371 (A) and clarified that the stand of the government of Nagaland so far was that whether one is a citizen of India or not, one cannot come and acquire property in Nagaland.

Toy also added that people should be “more concerned about illegal foreigners and how to implement the Inner Line Permit (ILP) more effectively, not as a source of harassment to non-Nagas, but to ensure that the idea or goal behind ILP is achieved.”

Afrida Hussain, founder and editor-in-chief of Inside NE, expressed concern that unlike the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the CAB is based on religion. “The CAB is now trying to change the whole definition of illegal immigration,” she said.

According to Hussain, the CAB undermines the NRC and therefore, the Assam Accord. She raised questions concerning this proposed exercise, in the context of India being a secular and democratic country.

During the symposium, the issue of ‘stateless people’ was also discussed, and how the central government has dealt with it so far.

In the context of Nagaland, it was mentioned that though a detention camp is being built in Assam, the state government has been requested to enforce ILP in the district of Dimapur, which is a territorial issue relating to Naga Hills districts and goes beyond the scope and provisions under Article 371 (A).

The discussion drew parallel to the CAB and the present exercise of Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland. It was stated that the concept and understanding of ‘indigenous’ located within the context of the state would create ‘epistemic violence’ over the very understanding of indigenous peoples’ rights, historicity and culture.

The discussion concluded with an understanding that the approach towards the controversial CAB needs to be set within a secular and democratic frame in consideration of the rights of the people.

By EMN Updated: Sep 21, 2019 11:41:41 pm