India’s Citizenship Bill Controversy

Neiphiu Rio
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Kohima–┬áChief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Sunday said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 is not applicable to Nagaland as the state stands protected under the provisions of Article 371(A) and the Inner Line Permit.

The Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who entered India before December 31, 2014.

Rio said the state cabinet which met on January 18 discussed the Bill and re-iterated the earlier decisions adopted by the Cabinet on June 5, 2018 and January 7, 2019.

“The cabinet was of the unequivocal view that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is not applicable to Nagaland and we stand protected under the provisions of Article 371 (A) and the Inner Line Permit (ILP) as per Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, (BEFR) of 1873, affirmed under Clause 16 of the 16 Point Agreement,” Rio said in a statement.

Moreover, he said the Cabinet decided to adopt a resolution re-affirming all provisions of Article 371(A) and to strengthen the implementation of the ILP as per the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation (BEFR) of 1873 that will also be taken up in the upcoming Nagaland Assembly session.

“The Cabinet also decided to refer the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to the Standing Committee on Article 371(A) under the Nagaland Assembly to examine the issue in its entirety,” Rio said.

The Cabinet decided to further appeal to the Indian government to have wider consultations with all northeastern states to ensure that the rights of the indigenous people were fully protected.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which has triggered massive protests in the northeastern states, was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8.


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