Guwahati, September 11, 2019:
North-East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP) on Wednesday said that the statement made by Home Minister Amit Shah at the 4th Conclave of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) regarding the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is “empty, misleading and double standard.”
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Amit Shah at the 4th Conclave of NEDA said that the CAB will not be in conflict with the Inner Line Permit (ILP) legislation in force in some states in the region.
He also stated that the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 would also not be in conflict with existing laws pertaining to safeguarding the identities, culture and customs of the indigenous people of the region. He goes on to say on the CAB that the Centre is contemplating will not affect Article 371 or the laws that protect the identities of the people of the northeast. He further asserted that the Centre intends to expel all illegal immigrants, not just from Assam, but the entire country.
Following this, the NEFIP said that Amit Shah’s exertions are empty, misleading and double standard since the very concept of CAB is an attempt to naturalise citizenship of illegal immigrants in the region.
In an official statement, the NEFIP stated that it strongly opposes 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.
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.
NEFIP also added, “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.”
The indigenous body further added, “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 have also appealed to the leadership at the centre not to take the North East Indigenous people for a “ride”.
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