Naga Republic News
Faced with public criticism over what was perceived as going soft on the issue, the Neiphiu Rio led People’s Democratic Alliance government in Nagaland has stated that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is not applicable to Nagaland and that the State was protected under the provisions of Article 371 (A) and the Inner Line Permit (ILP) as per Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, (BEFR) of 1873, affirmed under Clause 16 of the 16 Point Agreement.
A press communiqué issued by the Chief Minister’s Office informed that a Cabinet meeting was held on January 18 where the Cabinet was of the unequivocal view that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is not applicable to Nagaland and also making an appeal to the Government of India to have wider consultations with all North Eastern States to ensure that the rights of indigenous people are fully protected.
The Cabinet also decided to refer the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to the Standing Committee on Article 371 (A) under Nagaland Legislative Assembly to examine the issue in its entirety.
According to the communiqué, the Cabinet also decided to adopt a Resolution re-affirming all provisions of Article 371 (A) and to strengthen the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) as per Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, (BEFR) of 1873 that will also be taken up in the next Session of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly.
As per the Cabinet decision, the Chief Minister has also written a letter to Union Home Minister conveying the concern and apprehension of people of Nagaland with regard to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
“It has been clearly mentioned that the Bill, even if enacted, will not be applicable to Nagaland in view of the Constitutional ecosystem contained in Article 371 (A) of the Constitution of India that guarantees the Nagas their Way of Life un-interfered by any Parliamentary enactment, unless the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland by a resolution so decides”, the CMO statement pointed.
“This is necessary to ensure that the historic and unique cultural traditions and customary practices of Nagas are protected and safeguarded for which special constitutional provisions under Article 371(A) have also been incorporated in the Constitution of India”.
In view of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 being passed by the Lok Sabha and the adverse impact on Nagaland and other North Eastern States, the State Cabinet met on 18th January 2019 and deliberated on the matter in detail. Earlier also the State Cabinet had discussed this issue on 5th June, 2018 and 7th January, 2019.