Nagaland Governor says, “Citizenship Bill not applicable to state”

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Kohima, Jan 27, 2019

With the Secretariat Plaza wearing a deserted look—following Naga civil organisations' decision to boycott the Republic Day celebration as a sign of resentment to the passing of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill— Governor PB Acharya on Saturday sought to relay the message that the controversial bill is not applicable to the state of Nagaland.

In his customary Republic Day address, the governor said: "We are concerned with the issues of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which was recently passed by the Lok Sabha. We are of the unequivocal view that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is not applicable to Nagaland and we stand protected under the provisions of Article 371 (A) of the Constitution of India and the Inner Line Permit mechanism as per Bengal Frontier Regulation, 1873 which was re-affirmed as Clause 16 of the 16 Point Agreement."

He also made an upfront appeal to the government of India to ensure that the rights of the indigenous people are safeguarded.

"We further appeal to the government of India to have wider consultations with all north eastern states to ensure that the rights of the indigenous people are fully protected. We have also decided to refer the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to the Standing Committee on Article 371 (A) under the Nagaland Legislative Assembly to examine the issues in its entirety," Acharya said.

Pointing out the significance of Article 371 (A), he said that the special provisions were incorporated in the Constitution of India, to protect and safeguard the history and unique culture, and customary practices of the Nagas. "These special provisions not only safeguard the rights of the people of Nagaland but also give an opportunity for the people to grow and develop according to their own genius," the governor said.

He iterated the state government's commitment to facilitate an early solution to the Naga political issue. "The top priority of my government has been the final settlement of the Naga political issue. We have committed to play the role of an active facilitator in the ongoing political negotiations between the government of India and the Naga political groups," Acharya shared.

He felt that it is the "most opportune time for the Naga political groups to resolve the seven decades old Naga political issue once and for all," along with the "concerted efforts" of various organisations, HoHos, and churches.

Source: Eastern Mirror