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GBs Federation criticises state govt. on Citizenship Bill

By Our Correspondent Updated: Jan 22, 2019 12:48 am

Dimapur, Jan. 21 (EMN): The Nagaland GBs Federation has expressed apprehension on the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, saying that it could be dangerous once it is made an act.

“At present situation in Nagaland, illegal immigrants issue is of grave concern. At this juncture, the state cabinet’s decision to appeal for a review and re-examination of the Bill is unfortunate and lacks the will and conviction to save the state from being overrun by illegal immigrants,” read the statement from the federation.

It asked what is hindering the present Nagaland government from opposing the controversial when other north-eastern states run by BJP and its allies, and the BJP MLAs have called for a “total scrapping of the Bill.” It also described the state government’s contention that Article 371(A) that says “no Act of parliament shall apply to the state of Nagaland unless the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland by a resolution so decides” is there to protect the rights of the Nagas as “feeble argument and a dangerous one.”

The federation argued that the state government cannot say that “Article 371(A) will absolutely protect the Nagas in the event of CAB 2016 becoming an Act” as there is “no mention of citizenship in the article and the hope of taking 371(A) as ammunition to oppose the Bill when it becomes an act will not pass the legal scrutiny in time.” It also said citing the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873 (BEFRA) as one of the pillars to safeguard the Naga Citizenship through the exercise of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) doesn’t make sense as the Bill has no connection with ILP.

“If Nagaland is the only state where no illegal immigrants could enter as a result of the restrictions imposed by ILP, it could have been a different story from any other states in the country, however it is not the case and despite the BEFRA 1873, our state has become a safe haven for illegal immigrants,” read the statement.

The federation said it is unfortunate that a Bill has been passed in the Lok Sabha based on religion, “giving a legal freeway to the illegal immigrants to flourish and prosper particularly in the north-eastern states.” It said that illegal immigrants with legal Indian citizenship would soon overrun Nagaland in every field if the state government “meekly watch the hazardous events unfold.”

“When we should be working towards an efficient mechanism to deport and reduce the inflow of illegal immigrants, our weak stand is but a welcoming gesture to those who are eagerly waiting to make an entry into our state,” it said.

However, the federation said that “the state cabinet’s decision to call a consultative meet of all sections, including tribal hohos, civil society groups, NGOs, political parties, prominent citizens and all stakeholders to ascertain the views, opinions and suggestions is being appreciated and welcome.” It said the NGBF, being the guardian of the traditional and customary laws and practices, would not remain a mute spectator to any anti-Naga activities.

“We the Nagaland GBs Federation would also like to give our appreciation and support to the Joint Committee on Prevention of Illegal Immigrants (JCPI) and endorse their views and arguments,” said the statement from the NGBF.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Jan 22, 2019 12:48:13 am