Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) has called for an open debate on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) issue in the presence of all political parties, civil society groups and legal luminaries for enabling all to take a collective stand and generate a consensus, so that the Central government can leave out Nagaland from the purview of the Bill as there is no relation between CAB and Article 371(A).
As in the party’s political analysis it was found that Nagas will not be safe under CAB, NPCC president K Therie, in a release, explained that Congress had raised its voice on the issue during the recently-concluded Lok Sabha election. However, he admitted that the mandate was in favour of CAB with NDPP-BJP combine winning by a slender margin.
Alleging that the entire CAB issue was a vote bank politics, he said BJP has reaped benefits from it in the Parliamentary election. Despite the Northeast’s united protest against the Bill, he pointed out that BJP, with no regard for sentiments of the people of the region, had boldly reiterated during its campaign in Assam that it would pass the Bill should it be voted to power.
Asserting that BJP had won in West Bengal and Assam due to illegal immigrant voters and well-wishers yearning to bring their relatives from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, Therie asserted that if their votes can win the election, that alone is proof that they are not in small numbers as was explained in a study paper.
He alleged that BJP is not worried about the hill States’ objection to CAB as their numbers hardly matter. What should be focused is the long-term objective of the Bill to submerge political rights and identities of tribals and the region in time to come, he added.
While pointing out CAB plans to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 and grant legal status to the illegal immigrants and that Himanta Biswa Sarma, “alleged architect of the Bill”, had admitted that there are more than eight lakh Hindu Bengalis in Assam, NPCC president feared that the actual numbers could be more, and all of whom would be granted citizenship. Therefore, the number 31,313 quoted as the number of people who would benefit from CAB is misguiding, he claimed.
Recalling that the PDA government had even adopted a resolution to oppose the Bill, Therie alleged that, with the winds having changed at the Centre, an attempt is being made to rebrand and change the narrative of the Bill in the context of the Nagas to please New Delhi. However, he warned that the issue, if not handled with wisdom, could be the start of an end of the Nagas and “our indigenous status”.
Pointing out that he was worried because he would not like his future generations to be submerged in the ocean of migrants that he foresees in a matter of a few decades, Therie cautioned that demography will be changed and “our religion, identity, culture and social practices will vanish in the overcrowded population” with time.