Dimapur, January 18, 2019:
Around 3,000 concerned citizens thronged Super Market area in Dimapur, Nagaland, today, fearing the repercussions of the contentious amendment of the Citizenship Act.
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The protest that saw representations from all stratas of society, including many religions and communities, became a forum for people to voice their concerns about the CAA. They adopted democratic means, such as holding placards and raising slogans against the ruling dispensation, to express resentment.
“I am Jain and I strongly oppose CAA as I do not want any Pakistani, Bangladeshi, or Afghani to get citizenship”, read a poster. Notably, Jains are among the six communities who are to be granted asylum under the provisions of the CAA.
“Unity should be there in India and this is how our country is diverse and our country is rich. We also want to send a message to the youths: Nagaland is there for you”, said Akavi Zhimomi, an organizer of the protest, further assuring to oppose any “draconian law” that affects the “common well-being of the people”.
“We will not allow a single foreigner in the state” was a sentiment that was echoed by many a protester here today, which, in turn, echoes the sentiment behind the 6-year long ‘Assam Agitation’ (1979-1985).
Assam, which has been burning ever since the contentious Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha on December 11, leading to chaos and anarchy, saw as many as five protesters killed in police firing and the suspension of internet services and imposition of curfews in every nook and corner.
Although the protests in Nagaland turned ‘quiet’ after the Government’s announcement that the CAA would not touch areas under the Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime, the voices of the people have risen again in opposition to the CAA.
This protest in Nagaland comes after widespread agitations swept the nation, demanding the immediate roll back of the contentious legislation that uses religion as the basis for granting citizenship in “secular” India for the first time.
The fear that the CAA could violate the basic tenets of the Indian Constitution runs rampant among the protesters, and the intelligentsia forecasts that this could pave the way for more such ‘violations’ in the future.
However, the Narendra Modi-led Government, which neglected 100 scientists’ advice not to implement the CAA, remains unfazed. In fact, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has even proclaimed that the saffron party will not “move an inch” on the CAA.
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