Colonisation of NE

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/6/2019 11:50:55 AM IST

 North East Students Organisation(NESO) consisting of All Assam Students’ Union, Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), Garo Students’ Union (GSU), All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU), Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU), Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), Tripura Students’ Federation (TSF) has called for an 11-hour NE bandh on January 8 (5a.m. to 4p.m.). NESO has been airing serious concern over the BJP’s initiative through the Bill to accord citizenship mainly to Bangladeshi Hindus and not Bangladeshi Muslims. It may be recalled that during an election campaign in Kalinagar near Silchar, prime minister Narendra Modi had said that his government was hoping for final clearance of the amendment to the proposed Citizenship Bill 2016 in parliament. The Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to allow illegal migrants belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian religious communities coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan to not be imprisoned or deported. The Bill also appeals for the minimum years of residency in India to apply for citizenship to be lessened from at least 11 to six years for such migrants. The cat was out of the bag when the Bill sought to not extend the leniency to what it described as “illegal Muslim migrants”. Further, the Bill does not also mention about other minority communities in the three neighbouring countries, such as Jews, Bahais etc. There is every reason for the people of Assam not being happy about the proposed amendment. The Citizenship Amendment Bill has not gone down well with the Assamese as it contradicts the Assam Accord of 1985, which clearly states that illegal migrants( anyone from any community) heading in from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971, would be deported. Under the Citizenship Act of 1955, foreigners who come into India without valid travel documents, or stay in the country beyond their visa period, are considered illegal migrants. However, after BJP came to power and set its eyes on the north east and in particular Tripura and Assam which have a major presence of Hindus, exceptions were made in the Citizenship Act. In September 2015, illegal migrants belonging to minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan and coming to India on or before December 31, 2014, were allowed to stay. This allowed the illegal migrants to stay in India without being imprisoned or deported. Of course, the other communities, except Hindu immigrants from Bangladesh, were of no consequence. This exception was sought again in July 2016. As per the Citizenship Act, anybody who is born in India, has an Indian parent, or has lived in India for over 11 years, is eligible for Indian citizenship. At present, illegal migrants to do not fit this category. People in Assam object to the very agenda of enabling Bangladeshi Hindus from being granted Indian citizenship through exceptional clauses. They are incensed by vote bank politics which turns Assam and the region into a living space for colonisation. The Congress may be guilty of using Muslims for vote bank politics in the past but it did not legally shield aliens from prosecution. The BJP is causing worse harm by trying to alter the law to legalise illegal entry of certain communities and this is what has rankled the Assamese who view any alien is an alien, irrespective of religious background.

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