The Joint Committee on Prevention of Illegal Immigration (JCPI) and the Northeast Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP) took out a protest march against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 on Thursday.
The march was part of the regional protest against the Bill as per the decision of the 1st NEFIP central executive council meeting held in Kohima recently.
The march began at Badminton Stadium, Raj Bhavan Road, Kohima and culminated at the official residence of Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio.
The protesters submitted a memorandum to the chief minister urging him to take up with the central leadership to withdraw the contentious Bill in the interest of peace and harmony in Northeast by respecting the sentiments of the people in the region in general and Nagaland in particular.
The memorandum referred to a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 9 to bring the issue, raised in it, to the chief minister’s notice.
Saying that the Bill continues to hang over as a Damocles’ sword on all the indigenous people of the northeastern region, the memorandum requested the chief minister that the confidence reposed on him may not be infringed and the will of the people of the state may be fully endorsed and met on the issue.
“Violence had erupted on this issue in the region a number of times and as responsible citizens, we do not want violence to happen again,” it said.
The two organisations also made a sincere request to the chief minister to keep in the loop any action initiated by him in this regard so that the people and the elected leaders go side by side on this issue.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, 2019 after it was introduced by then union home minister Rajnath Singh.
However, the Bill lapsed in the Rajya Sabha.
If the Bill is passed in the Parliament, illegal migrants from minority communities like Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian coming from neighbouring countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan will then be eligible for Indian citizenship, excluding people from the Muslim community.
Despite protests against the Bill in the Northeast, BJP president and union home minister Amit Shah vows to bring it again and get passed in the Parliament.