‘NE not dustbin for unidentified citizens’
Kohima, Nov. 19 (EMN): The Northeast region should not be converted into “a dustbin where they can throw any unidentified citizens”, asserted Theja Therieh, the vice president of the North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP).
Speaking to Eastern Mirror on Tuesday, Therieh said that the decision to call for a state-wide 18-hours shutdown in Nagaland was taken after a fruitful meeting with Naga organisations in Kohima on November 18, as per instruction from the NEFIP.
“Everyone appreciated and agreed that we should all rise on this occasion to reject the CAB which is against our interest. Because once CAB is introduced and passed in the Parliament, anyone who can produce and identify himself a resident of this state for six years will be naturalised and will be a citizen like any of us, and that is the biggest threat,” he commented.
He said that there are more than four lakh “illegal immigrants” in Nagaland. Therieh stated that even if Nagaland is exempted, people will try to establish their identity and citizenship from Assam and enter Nagaland as Indian citizens. “And between the states, there is no security system that can check and our border are all hollow, and we don’t know what will be our future after 10-20 years,” he said.
Therieh also said that CAB is religion-based. “If people can be given citizenship on the basis of one’s religion, it goes against the basic principle of Indian Constitution,” he added.
Therieh went on to say: “Despite our protests and writing to the government of India and state government, they are still adamant to table the bill in the Parliament.”
“Even if they pass it in the parliament, we will not allow implementation in our state,” he asserted adding that they will go to any extent to ensure that the bill does not affect the people of the state and the region.
On the state-wide 18-hour shutdown, he said that the organisers will not force or compel the people to participate in it. “We believe everyone will take a conscious decision to cooperate and stay indoors so that this bandh will be successful and go a long way to help us determine our own future.”
Therieh further said that “if we are together, no force on earth can impose anything against us; and that’s our belief.”
He informed that they had some private discussions with some MPs but they have not seen the content of the new bill drafted.
“We strongly believe that if the 24 MPs (from the region) can come together and jointly protest in the Parliament, they (government of India) will listen to them; and even if we fail to block the process of the bill, we will at least get exemption or a clause will be inserted where our right and culture will be protected,” he said.
Therieh was of the view that the government of India will “definitely address our grievances and will respect the sentiment of the people”.