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Nagaland govt, other organisations oppose citizenship bill

Press Trust of India  |  Dimapur 

The Nagaland government, along with a host of civil societies, tribal organisations, political parties and NGOs, on Thursday opposed the citizenship bill to "safeguard" the rights of the indigenous people of the north east.

During a consultative meeting convened by the state government here, a five-point resolution was adopted that expressed solidarity with the rest of the north east states, which have flagged concerns about the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

"Nagaland stands in solidarity with the rest of the region in order to safeguard the rights of the indigenous people of the region," members present at the meeting said.

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton attended the meeting along with members of political parties like the BJP, the NDPP, the NPP, the JD(U) and the NCP.

Prominent organisations in attendance were the Eastern Naga People's Organisation, the Naga Students' Federation, the Naga Mothers' Association, the Angami Public Organisation, the Yimchunger Tribal Council and the Zeliang People's Organisation, among others.

However, some apex bodies like the Naga Hoho, the Central Nagaland Tribes Council and the Nagaland Gaonborahs Federation refrained from attending the meeting.

The resolution stated that no non-indigenous person can claim rights and privileges in Nagaland as "we stand protected under the provisions of Article 371 (A) of the Constitution of India and the Inner Line Permit mechanism".

Any person who acquires Indian citizenship through the amended citizenship bill will be as "ineligible for acquiring property or settling down in Nagaland as other non-Nagas", it said.

The resolution further said that the Nagaland assembly should discuss about enforcing the Inner Line Permit regulations all over the state, including in Dimapur district.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which was passed by Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, after six years of residence in India even if they do not possess any documents.

Protests against it have rocked the north east, with those opposing it contending that it would harm the rights of the indigenous people.

On Tuesday, 10 political parties, most of which are members of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), along with the saffron party's key ally in Bihar, the JD(U), unanimously decided to jointly oppose the bill.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, January 31 2019. 20:25 IST