Dimapur, January 20 (MExN): The Nagaland State Cabinet has decided to refer the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (CAB) to the Standing Committee on Article 371 (A) under Nagaland Legislative Assembly to examine the issue in its entirety.

The Standing Committee includes members representing all political parties. They will study the issue and submit its report to the House.

The Cabinet was also of the “unequivocal view” that the CAB is “not applicable to Nagaland and we stand protected” under the provisions of Article 371 (A) and the ILP and BEFR, 1873, affirmed under Clause 16 of the 16 Point Agreement.

At a meeting held on January 18, informed a press release from the Nagaland State Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), the State Cabinet also decided to adopt a Resolution re-affirming all provisions of Article 371 (A) and to strengthen the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) as per Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, (BEFR) of 1873 that will also be taken up in the next Session of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly.

This was a reiteration of decisions taken earlier by the Cabinet on June 5, 2018, and January 7 this year. As per the CMO, the Cabinet also decided to further appeal to the Government of India to have wider consultation with all North Eastern States to ensure that the rights of indigenous people are fully protected.

It informed that the Chief Minister of Nagaland has already written a letter to Union Home Minister conveying the concern and apprehension of people of Nagaland with regard to the CAB, mentioning that “the Bill, even if enacted, will not be applicable to Nagaland in view of the Constitutional ecosystem contained in Article 371 (A) of the Constitution of India that guarantees the Nagas their Way of Life un-interfered by any Parliamentary enactment, unless the Legislative Assembly of Nagaland by a resolution so decides. This is necessary to ensure that the historic and unique cultural traditions and customary practices of Nagas are protected and safeguarded for which special constitutional provisions under Article 371(A) have also been incorporated in the Constitution of India.”

Call for consultation
Meanwhile, the Nagaland State Government has called for a consultative meet of all sections including tribal hohos, civil societies, NGOs, political parties, prominent citizens and all stakeholders “to collect the views, opinions and suggestions of all sections of the Naga society.”

Informing this in a press release, the NDPP Media & Communications Committee maintained that “The consensus arrived at this meeting will naturally become the stand of the Nagaland Government which we will present before the Government of India.”

The PDA and NDPP also appealed to all concerned to come forward with their recommendations in writing or through the consultative meet to the ILP Committee (constituted to look into the ILP/BEFR) which is yet to submit its report. The Committee will “submit its final report and recommendations only after it gathers opinions and suggestions from all sections in a transparent and democratic manner.”

Since the “matter is of utmost importance and will have far reaching repercussions, we need to address the issue in a patient and sensible manner,” stated the ruling party maintaining that “as a government that represents the will of the people, we assure all sections that the recommendations of the ILP Committee and the stand of the State Government will well and truly reflect the will and desire of the people.”

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