Dimapur bandh
Deserted look of a road in Dimapur during bandh. Image credit - Northeast Now

The six-hour lightning bandh in all the Naga inhabited areas against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 passed off peacefully on Saturday.

The bandh was called by the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) from 6 am on Saturday.

All the offices remained closed and vehicular traffic was off the roads during the period of the bandh.

However, examinations were exempted from the purview of the bandh.

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There were no reports of any untoward incident received from any part of the state.

NSF vice president Dievi Yano and general secretary Liremo R Kikon said the call to impose the bandh was unanimously taken at the federation’s emergency executive council meeting in Kohima on Friday as the bill was passed in the Parliament.

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The bill was passed ignoring the sentiments of the agitating indigenous people in the northeastern states.

The NSF also expressed displeasure at Lok Sabha MP from Nagaland, Tokheho Yepthomi (NDPP), Rajya Sabha MP from Nagaland K.G. Kenye (NPF) and Lok Sabha MP from Manipur Lorhe S. Pfoze (NPF) for voting in favour of the bill in Parliament.

The NSF said the NDPP and NPF MPs voted in favour of the bill “without considering the threat and the consequences” that it poses to the indigenous inhabitants of Northeast.

The federation demanded that the three MPs publicly state the rationale behind their support for the bill and also explain to the public, as to why the Citizenship (Amendment) Act would not affect the people they represent.

Nagaland Joint Christian Forum president Rev. Zelhou Keyho, who is also the general secretary of Nagaland Baptist Church Council, said the Inner Line Permit (ILP) alone does not make Nagaland safe from the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

He said the Citizenship (Amendment) Act should be looked at from a larger perspective as it would affect the whole of the northeastern states, including the states that feel safe at this moment.

Keyho said since the northeastern states are interconnected, none of the states in the region is safe.

Nagaland deputy chief minister Y Patton, who met various non-Naga communities of Dimapur at Police Mess Chumukedima here on Friday, assured that Indian citizens would not be harassed because of ILP.

He also reiterated that the ILP would not be issued to the foreigners.

In the meantime, Y. Patton, who is also the state BJP Legislature Party leader, appealed to various organisations to cooperate with the state government and advised them not to give protection to illegal immigrants.

He further assured the various non-Naga communities that no NGOs or students’ bodies would harass them with regard to ILP as the government would be taking care of the issue.

“If anybody comes and harasses with regard to ILP, you report to the government,” Patton said.

“Be good messengers between the government of Nagaland and government of India. We will also do our best to protect you and we will work collectively,” he said.

Bhadra Gogoi

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