Home Minister’s statement hollow, misleading and ambiguous: NEFIP

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DIPHU, Sept 11: North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP) stated that entire north eastern region finds Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s exertion on Citizenship Amendment Bill empty, misleading and double standard pointing out that its very concept is an attempt to naturalize citizenship of illegal immigrants in the region. This was stated in a press statement issued its media secretary Khuraijam Athouba on Wednesday.

The statement came in the backdrop of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s recent statement at the fourth conclave of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) attended by the Chief Ministers of eight North-East States, including Sikkim, where he claimed that the proposed CAB will not be in conflict with the Inner Line Permit (ILP) legislation in force in some states in the region or will it affect Article 371 or the laws that protect the identities of the people of the north east..

“The NEFIP representing the Indigenous population of the North Eastern Region of India while welcoming the assurance made by Hon’ble Home Minister to protect and safeguard the identities, culture and customs of the indigenous people of the region and to remove all illegal migrants from the entire region finds the exertions empty, misleading and double standard since the very concept of CAB is an attempt to naturalise citizenship of illegal immigrants in the region. The NEFIP strongly opposed to the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in its present form which inter alia seeks to provide that Persons belonging to minority communities, that is, Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan shall not be treated as illegal immigrants and that the Third Schedule of the 1955 Act is proposed to be amended to decrease the residency requirement from 11 years to six years. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeks to make drastic changes in the citizenship and immigration norms of the country by relaxing the criteria to become an Indian citizen,” NEFIP said.

Further, in its press statement NEFIP said, “The Citizenship Act of 1955 denies citizenship rights to any illegal immigrant, whereby an ‘illegal immigrant’ is defined as a person who (i) enters India without a valid passport or with forged documents, or (ii) who stays in the country beyond the visa permit. The present Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is an attempt to legitimise the defaulters and is prima facie unconstitutional and against Article 14 (Right to Equality) of the Constitution and corrupting the basic concept of Secularism as per the Doctrine of Basic structures of the Constitution of India.”

“It will be totally incorrect to believe that the people of the Northeast do not know what will benefit them or not and such type of imposition of bio power despite the opposition to it is nothing but a hangover of the colonial mindset and interior colonisation to enforce a strict Demographic hierarchy through suppressing the indigenous people of this Region, which will further distance them from the mainstream. NEFIP appeals to the leadership at the centre not to take the North East Indigenous people for a ride with rhetoric assurances but to address our concerns with all seriousness and with pragmatic approach,” concluded NEFIP.