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The Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) has termed re-elected Lok Sabha member Tokheho Yepthomi’s statement that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is not a threat to Naga people as ‘misleading’.

Also read: Citizenship Bill not threat to Nagas, says re-elected MP Yepthomi

In a statement on Saturday, NPCC president K Therie said the proposed amendment does not speak of people who overstay as the government’s objective is to accommodate any person from six religious communities – Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Christians and Sikhs – from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and make him or her eligible for citizenship, if his or her period of residence is not less than six years.

According to Therie, as per the proposed amendment, even those individuals who had illegally entered India in the past and are staying and fulfil the stated timeframe will be eligible for Indian citizenship.

He asserted that nobody can stop them from enjoying constitutional provisions and entitlements like voting rights, owning properties and legal protection.

“We will be submerged under the ocean of these immigrants,” the PCC chief said, warning that they will come in crores within a decade.

Therie referred to Yepthomi’s statement that the Nagas are not aware of the contents of the Bill. “We may not be as qualified as he is, but we have read the Bill and we understand each word and meaning,” he said.

Therie also said Yepthomi’s assertion is not in the interest of the Naga people. He warned that the Lok Sabha MP will be held responsible by the future generation.

On the other hand, Yepthomi, in a release on Saturday, said the Bill needs to be clarified as it has been misconstrued and became a propaganda tool.

He said it has been wrongly put in the public domain that once the Bill is passed, the entire Northeast will be overrun by ‘crores of immigrants’ waiting at the borders of neighbouring countries.

“This notion is totally false and has misled a lot of people,” Yepthomi said. He added the Bill will only grant immediate citizenship to immigrants who have entered India prior to December 31, 2014.

The MP said one needs to look at the report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, consisting of 30 members – 20 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha, to know the facts about the Bill.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at:

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