Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee President K Therie.
File image of Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee President K Therie.

The Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) on Sunday called for an open debate on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill issue in the presence of all political parties, civil societies and legal luminaries to take a collective stand on consensus.

NPCC president K. Therie, in a release, said a collective decision should be taken so that the central government would leave Nagaland out from the purview of the Bill.

Maintaining that there is no relation between CAB and Article 371(A), Therie said, “In our political analysis, we did not see we are safe under the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.”

The NPCC chief said though they had raised their voice against the Bill during the Lok Sabha elections, the “mandate was in favour of CAB (NDPP+BJP) with a thin margin”.

“The whole CAB 2016 has been a vote bank politics and the BJP has reaped its benefits in the recently concluded parliamentary elections,” he alleged.

According to Therie, the BJP won in West Bengal and Assam because the CAB was supported by illegal migrant voters and well-wishers who were yearning to bring their relatives from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“If their votes can win the election, that alone is proof that they are not in small numbers as explained in the study paper,” he said while referring to the study provided by newly elected Lok Sabha MP Tokheho Yepthomi.

The NPCC chief accused the BJP of having no regard to the sentiments of the people of the Northeast who protested unitedly against the Bill. He said this was manifest when the BJP, during their campaign in Assam, boldly reiterated that it would pass the Bill if voted to power.

Therie also alleged that BJP is not bothered about the objection of the hill states to the CAB as their numbers hardly matter to it

“What should be in focus is the long-term objective of the Bill which is clearly to submerge the political rights and identities of the tribals and the region in time to come,” he said.

While the CAB 2016 plans to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 to grant legal status to the illegal immigrants, North East Democratic Alliance convenor and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma, the alleged architect of the Bill, admitted that there are more than eight lakh Hindu Bengalis in Assam, who would be granted citizenship, Therie said.

He termed the number 31,313 quoted as reference for the number of people who would benefit from CAB 2016 by Tokheho as “utterly misguiding”.

Therie also pointed out that the PDA government had adopted a resolution to oppose the Bill. “However, now that the winds have 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,” the NPCC chief alleged.

He warned that the issue, if not handled with wisdom, could be the start to an end of the Nagas and their indigenous status,.

Therie said he does not want to see his future generations and siblings submerged in the ocean of migrants.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com

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