The North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), which comprises of the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), Twipra Students’ Federation (TSF), All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU), Garo Students’ Union (GSU) and All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) representing eight major students’ movements of the seven North Eastern States, is opposing strongly the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) since 2016 which has now become an Act also known as Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, is reiterating its strong opposition to this draconian Act on the very basic principle that this CAA is a grave threat to the identity and survival of the microscopic indigenous communities of the different states of North East. Historically the North East which shares a long and porous border of nearly 1,750 Km with Bangladesh has been facing the problem of illegal infiltration since the time India attained its Independence in 1947 in which large scale migration took place from the then East Pakistan now Bangladesh especially to Tripura and Assam, again, in 1971, due to the Liberation War of Bangladesh, large scale migration of people from Bangladesh again took place and they cross over to the different states of NE especially Tripura and Assam. The consequences of these large scale migration resulted in the indigenous people of Tripura being reduced to a minority in their own land and they accounted at present only 30% of the total population, 11 (eleven) districts of Assam where the indigenous people of Assam are reduced to a minority. This CAA has nullified the provision of the Assam Accord signed in 1985 whereby the cut-off date of 1971 is squashed with the new provision inserted in the Act, this is total disrespect and utter disregard of the Accord which the GOI itself is a signatory in which the people of Assam and North East can never accept. This CAA is only adding to the already burgeoning problem of illegal infiltration from Bangladesh which is continuing unabatedly thereby changing the demographic structure of the whole region. The then Home Minister in the United Front government, the late, Mr Indrajit Gupta, on 6th May 1997,made a startling revelation and stated in the floor of the Lok Sabha that the number of illegal migrants stood at nearly 1(one) Crore, the Intelligence Bureau in 1998 reported that the estimated number of illegal migrants to be 1.1 Crore with the greatest concentration in Assam and West Bengal, the Group of Ministers (GOM), in its report on reforming the national security system made public on 23 May, 2001, while mentioning about the law and order situation in North East, also stated that the situation has staggered from bad to worse with the influx of an estimated 1.2 Crore or 12 Million illegal Bangladeshis since 1971. The then Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Prakash Jaiswal, in 14th July, 2004, has stated that more than 1.2 Crores of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants are present in India, out of which, 50 Lakhs in Assam, 3,25,400 in Tripura, 59,000 in Nagaland, 30,000 in Meghalaya. The then Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mr Kiren Rijiju, in 2016, has stated in the Rajya Sabha that the estimated number of illegal Bangladeshi migrants to be 2(two) Crores. If this is not a threat to the microscopic indigenous communities, then what?
This Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 is also unconstitutional and communal as it defines citizenship on the basis of religion. NESO does not differentiate a person on the basis of religion, as according to us ‘a foreigner is a foreigner irrespective of his or her religion’.
The indigenous people of the North East are deadly against this Act as its implementation will grant citizenship to illegal infiltrators who were illegally entering and settling here in North East and the Government instead of taking action and deporting them to Bangladesh is awarding them with citizenship. The people of NE have all along been demanding that all the illegal migrants be deported back to their country of origin, but the Government of India, through the promulgation of this Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, is legitimizing the presence of illegal infiltrators in North East and will also encourage more infiltration from Bangladesh to NE thereby threatening the language, culture and the very identity of the microscopic indigenous communities of the NE. This is a treacherous act of the GOI towards the indigenous peoples of the NE, whereby instead of making laws to protect its own citizens, it is bringing in a law to facilitate the illegal migration of foreigners and putting at risk its own citizens from external aggression. So the pertinent question is “This Government is for whom?” Is the Government of India for its own citizens or for the illegal foreigners from Bangladesh?
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