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Monday, 16 December 2019 - Imphal Times

Stop blaming those in queue for petrol, it is not panic buying; CAF& PD has urged BPCL to stop issuing Petrol to public w.e.f Dec. 15

IT News

Imphal, Dec 16

Long queue at oil depot by people of the state for filling petrol of diesel in their vehicles are often term as panic buying by state government authority and yesterday the Chief Minister of Manipur N. Biren Singh had appealed the people to stop panic buying saying that state still have petroleum stock for 15 days while Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution , Karam Shyam had also made similar appeal with a different version on petroleum stock position saying that state has 5 days stock.

However, people seem to know the reality, and not to be surprised the Directorate of Consumer Affairs Food & Public Distribution, Government of Manipur had officially written a letter to the Assistant Sales Manager of the Bharat Petroleum Company Limited to stop issuing of Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants (POL) to the people with immediate effect yesterday. A source with the Imphal Times said that the Directorate of the CAF& PD wrote the letter to the BPCL to stop issuing of the POL to conserve stock for emergency consumption by the Government Departments and the VIPs, as transportation of POL has been affecting due to the social unrest and deteriorating law and order condition in Assam in the aftermath of the passing of the Amended Citizenship Bill.

Oil Depot in Imphal area saw long queue today, and this may be the last scene witness as almost all the oil depot in the state are likely to be dried tomorrow.

“We cannot trust the government, and we have to fill our vehicle as we have to attend office”, a government employee waiting for his turn at an Oil depot said.

Meanwhile, price of essential commodities have also been sky rocketed in Imphal due to the turmoil in Assam.

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CM Inaugurates 16th Orange Festival Tamenglong

IT News
Imphal, Dec 16: Chief Minister N. Biren Singh opened the 16th State Level Orange Festival cum Centenary Celebration of Tamenglong District Administration amidst mesmerizing display of dance and music in the presence of huge number of enthusiastic crowd at Public Ground, Tamenglong District Headquarters today.

Speaking at the occasion as the chief guest, N. Biren Singh announced that separate funds would be earmarked in the State Budget for festivals related to fruits and would increase the consolation incentive prizes for participating orange growers of Orange Festival from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 20,000 from next year. Stating that horticulture products of the State have a unique taste, N. Biren Singh said that Tamenglong Orange would receive Geographical Indication (GI) Tagging Certificate very soon. Manipur has immense potential in tourism and horticulture sectors, the Chief Minister said and further added that the State should focus on these sectors to bring economic development.

Maintaining that the present State Government had been able to make significant developmental changes in the past two and a half years, the Chief Minister said that hill-valley bonding had been strengthened apart from bringing improvement in law and order situation. He said that there has been no economic blockade on the national highways ever since the current government came to power. The Chief Minister also said that one can see opening of shops till late night in Imphal now.

Regarding developmental projects in Tamenglong District, the Chief Minister said that projects like widening of Khongshang-Tamenglong road, construction of FCI Godown and Water Supply Scheme at Duithanglong are going on in full swing. Apart from it, he added, the State Government would upgrade the present women’s market by allocating more funds. The Chief Minister also assured to revamp the inter-village roads located around Tamenglong District headquarters soon.

Regarding Indo-Naga peace talks, the Chief Minister said that he would extend full cooperation in bringing an amicable and honourable solution to the decades-long vexed issue.

Speaking at the occasion, Horticulture and Soil Conservation Minister Th. Shyamkumar said that Tamenglong is known to the world for its oranges having unique taste and Amur Falcon migratory birds. He said that the State Government would make all-out efforts to hold a special festival for Amur Falcon and Hornbill. Observing that killing of birds creates ecological imbalance, the Minister also expressed his desire to ban the use of air guns in the State.

In his speech, Public Health Engineering Minister L. Dikho said that Government’s efforts to bring positive developmental changes would not be successful until and unless people extend cooperation to the Government. He urged the people of Tamenglong district especially youths to work hard so that God’s gift of orange abundance in the district may be translated into economic prosperity.

MLAs Awangbou Newmai, Samual Jendai, ADC Tamenglong Chairman Namsinrei Pamei, Secretary to Chief Minister Ningthoujam Geoffrey and Tamenglong DC Armstrong Pame were also seated on the dais as dignitaries among others.

Choir presentation performed by around 1000 members selected from 28 different Churches of the district was the special attraction of the day among different mesmerizing cultural items presented on the opening day.

Around 370 growers participated in this year’s festival. Rs. 2 (two) lakhs, Rs. 1 (one) lakh and Rs. 75,000/- were awarded to first, second and third prize winners of the orange competition. Moreover, Rs. 10,000 each were also given to all the participating orange growers.

Orange Queen Contest, Orange Eating Competition, Tamenglong’s Got Talent, Rock Concert and Choir Competition are the major highlights of this year’s State Level Orange Festival which will conclude on December 18 with Lok Sabha MP (Outer) Dr. Lorho Pfoze as the chief guest.

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Manipur’s citizens continues to show solidarity with the anti-CAA movements in NE

IT News

Imphal, Dec 16

Citizens of Manipur from different walks of life today continue to show solidarity stand with the anti CAA uprising in various part of the North East India particularly in the state of Assam where as many as 6 people have been died during the protest.

Today is the third day, and police today tried to foil the solidarity stand however, the citizens argued that they have every rights to pray for the people of Assam and NE.

“We don’t use placards as you desired, we don’t disturbed anybody, we don’t called any persons to join us, we are not called by anybody, we simply gathered here to show our solidarity with our brothers and sisters of Assam and Tripura”, a young lady told a police officer when he forced the citizens to leave the place.

Later, the Superintendent of Police called the citizens to talk on regarding the protest. All the people gathered their said that there is no organiser no representative and whom should he talk to. Later, the police team asked all the citizens who gathered there to talk with the SP.

The SP after listening to the citizens said that there is nothing wrong in praying for the people but gathering is a problem at hyper sensitive area. He advised the citizens to take permission for such solidarity outside the hypersensitive area.

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Congress activists wave black flags at Governor Najma Heptulla

IT News
Imphal Dec 16,

Youth Congress activists waved black flags at Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla on Monday morning at nearby Aluva in Kochi in protest against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), passed by the Parliament.
According to media reports, Heptulla was on her way to board a flight to Lakshadweep from the Nedumbassery airport in Kerala when the incident occurred.
Protests broke out in many parts of Assam and NorthEast following the passage of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 in Parliament and it later became an Act there upon after Presidential assent on December 12.

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State Observes Vijay Diwas; Need to improve human resources sector in the state: CM

IT News
Imphal, Dec 16

Manipur joined the rest of the country in paying tributes to the martyrs, who laid down their lives for the Nation during the Indo-Pakistan war in 1971, on Vijay Diwas today.
The State level observance was held at the Banquet Hall of 1stBattalion Manipur Rifles with Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and Deputy Chief Minister Y. Joykumar Singh as the chief guest and functional president respectively.
Addressing the function, N. Biren Singh said that we all must commit ourselves to improve the human resources sector in the State. Our State would move forward only when we develop our human resources, he added. He also opined that there is a correlation between human resources development and development of a state or a country.
Mentioning that development is not just about infrastructural development, the Chief Minister maintained that we must change our approaches and perspectives to bring positive transformation in the State. He also stated that we must not forget that it is the responsibility of the government to provide quality education to our children. We need to produce great and eminent persons who can make our State proud, he added.
The Chief Minister stated that according to a recent report, Manipur University could not find its place among top 100 best Universities of the country. We need to closely examine why Manipur University had failed to make in the top 100 list, he added. He further stated that we must be committed in providing quality education to the students and to create strong academic atmosphere in all the institutions of the state. He also advised the State Education Minister to take necessary actions against those who instigate innocent students to participate in any form of agitation.
N. Biren informed that he has directed the Chief Secretary to monitor and review the ongoing projects and developmental works being taken up in the State.
On the occasion, Chief Minister paid his rich tribute to those soldiers who sacrifice their lives for the integrity and sovereignty of the country.
Ministers, MLAs, Administrative Secretaries, heads of departments, top ranking civil and police officials also attended the function.

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A R Organises Medical Camp

Imphal Dec. 16

With an objective to provide better health care facilities to the local populace, Thinghat Battalion of 27 Sector Assam Rifles under the aegis of HQ IGAR (South) organised a free medical camp at Heijang village of Thinghat sub division on 15 Dec 2019. Medical checkups were carried out by the Regimental Medical Officers and nursing staff. Special medical issues of women were also addressed. Over 250 people benefited from the exclusive medical care during which free medicines were also provided to the poor and needy patients.
Local civil authorities were also co-opted in the conduct of camp. The medical camp was organised keeping in mind the medical problems of the people and paucity of healthcare resources around Heijang and adjoining villages. The opportunity was also utilised by Regimental Medical Officers to educate the masses about prevention of communicable and skin diseases along with other life style diseases affecting them. The locals of the area lauded the efforts of Assam Rifles and requested for more such endeavors in future

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ATUM to close Pallel - Aimol road from December 18

IT News
Imphal, Dec 16

Decrying the government inaction for repairing of the deteriorated road condition between Aimol Village to Pallel in Chandel district, the Aimol Tribe Union Manipur(ATUM) today threaten to close the road if the government authority fails to initiate the repairing work of the road stretch.  
“The road that connects Pallel to Aimol village, known as  Pallel- Aimol road, in Chandel district is in worst condition. The villagers has been demanding the government to keep an eye on it and to repair the road as soon as possible, however as no positive response is received from the government the ATUM is left with no choice but to close the road to prevent road accident”, Athoi Bongte, Ex-President of ATUM said to reporters.
“ We will close the road stretch for all heavy and medium vehicles from December 18 if government fails to give a positive response”, Athoi said.
Aimol Khullen, Village Secretary, Kh.Khotinchung, Aimol Village, etc. were also present while announcing the closure of the road to reporters.

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RBI allows NEFT 24 x7 from today

With a view to facilitate smooth settlement of National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) system, RBI has decided to permit NEFT transactions in the accounts of the member banks maintained by it, on 24 x 7 basis from today.
Till now NEFT was available only between 8 am and 7:45 pm on working days. Besides NEFT did not work on 2nd and 4th Saturday of the week. “In order to facilitate smooth settlement of these transactions, RBI has decided to extend the collateralised liquidity support (LS), round the clock, the RBI circular dated 13 December 2019 stated. The decision to allow NEFT transactions on 24 x7 was taken in the Monetary Policy Meet of RBI held in August 2019.  
LS facility will operate as per the same terms and conditions as the Intra-Day Liquidity (IDL) facility, all member banks eligible for the IDL facility will be eligible to avail of the LS facility, the limit for LS facility would be set by RBI from time to time. Drawings under the LS facility shall be reckoned as part of the eligible IDL limit, the margin requirement on LS facility would be similar to that of IDL facility, outstanding drawing at the end of the day under the LS facility will be automatically converted into borrowing under the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF), the MSF borrowing reversal will take place along with other (Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF) operations as is currently being done, the instructions on intra-day-liquidity and reversal of IDL shall continue, as hitherto and RBI may review the facilities based on the experience gained in operationalizing the scheme.  
RBI has advised its member banks that: there will be 48 half-hourly batches every day. The settlement of first batch will commence after 00:30 hours and the last batch will end at 00:00 hours. the system will be available on all days of the year, including holidays, NEFT transactions after usual banking hours of banks are expected to be automated transactions initiated using ‘Straight Through Processing (STP)’ modes by the banks, the existing discipline for crediting beneficiary’s account or returning the transaction (within 2 hours of settlement of the respective batch) to originating bank will continue, member banks will ensure sending of positive confirmation message (N10) for all NEFT credits and all provisions of NEFT procedural guidelines will be applicable for NEFT 24x7 transactions as well. Member banks are expected to keep adequate liquidity in their current account with RBI at all times to facilitate successful posting of NEFT batch settlements. They have also been  advised to initiate necessary action and ensure availability of all necessary infrastructural requirements at their end for providing seamless NEFT 24x7 facility to their customers.
“This move (by RBI) is a step towards reducing the number of cheques while making payments. Reducing cheque-based payments also increases a business’ efficiency. Earlier, RBI had removed NEFT and RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement System) charges, making such transactions cheaper. This will certainly promote digital payments for business users,” RBI official said.
RBI has already included other categories of recurring payments through the Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS) that enables a customer to pay several bills such as telephone, water, gas, direct-to-home (DTH) and electricity at a single location—electronic or physical.
BBPS payments can be made using cash, cheques as well as through any digital mode of payment such as internet banking, debit, credit card among others. Bill aggregators and banks function as operating units and carry out these payment transactions for customers.

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ST demand is a blunder.

At this crucial juncture, some among the Meitei populations, who have been taking major role in the nation building process of Manipuri nation since the time immemorial with their courage and determination;  have become weak-hearted and started to demand to include Meiteis in the ST list of Indian Constitution. Meitei/Meetei demanding for ST status needs to think it through because it is not a simple demand. It is not only about the Meitei/Meetei, but also a demand that will have a connection to the history of tomorrow. While discussing the matter, we have seen people who disagreed being threatened to inflict fear, portrayed as illiterate, and projected as hateful towards Meitei/Meetei. On top of this, we have also heard a leader of an armed group and other organisations say that striving to restore our nation’s independence is not revolution. The reasons for ST demand seem to change with time. In the beginning, it has mentioned that on the grounds of constitution, Meitei/Meetei lacks development, lives in isolation, and if granted ST status, people could receive employment benefits due to reservation, even to the point of claiming to be able to produce more IAS officers and overpower India. However, looking at the current scenario, Indian government’s employment rate is seeing a decline every year in spite of the reservation facility. The most important element of India’s neo-liberal economy at present is Public Private Partnership (PPP), wherein the government’s employment rate is falling. Therefore, the 7.5% ST reservation is not going to bring about a huge change in the employment of Meitei/Meetei. After considering this, the reasons for ST demand have been changed.
Status of religion before Hinduism
Claims were made of Meitei/Meetei lifestyle having both tribal and primitive elements. There was also a time when they said that they were not demanding for ST status, they just wanted to lie about it. The Meitei/Meetei religion prior to the Hindu conversion, was falsely portrayed as just a religion with no temple and with maichou only at the level of maiba-maibi but not at the king’s level, stating multiple times that the religion belonged to tribal and primitive regions. The philosophy and related festivals of this religion had a respectable status, but the constant fabrication of lies just to avail ST status might create a false impression of the religion. At the same time, they are saying that availing ST status will not bring any change to our religion. Whether it changes or not is a different matter. No thought has not gone in to understand that labeling a phase of our religion as tribal religion is us bringing ourselves down in front of the world. If there is no element of backwardness or underdevelopment in being ST, then why are they provided with reservation as a part of Redistribution Junction? It is just an act of willful ignorance in spite of knowing the reasons behind providing other protective measures. If the attitude remains as ‘let people think whatever they want’, then a question arises if all the efforts to strive forward were in vain.Various rituals of celebrating and offering prayers to Sidaba mapu, Lainingthou Lairembi, Apokpa etc. were unavoidable elements and did not exist as just mere word-of-mouth. A number of Puya on religious matter clearly stated that our religion was not a tribal religion. We need to study the stories and philosophy of seven Maichou’s in order to understand the same. It was also not so that Meitei/Meetei religion suddenly became regional or tribal after Hindu conversion. Hill-Valley Relationship
The hill-valley division to run a state has been going on since the time of British colonialism. Various 20th century leaders have stood against this division, mentioning it time and again in the resolutions of Nikhil Hindu Manipur Mahasava. Government’s attempt to separate the hills from the valley does not help in building a united Manipur. Instead of enabling people to think collectively, it has led to people think either for hills only or for valley only. The division has been going on since the time of merger into Indian Union, when various administrative and judicial bodies meant only for hills were formed. Thus, the hill-valley division continues till date. The current situation is not about Meitei/Meetei not being ST and chingmee becoming ST . Therefore, the claim that the ST demand will bring the Meitei/Meetei and chingmee closer, is a distortion of history. It is nothing but encouraging the colonizers by putting the blames on the self for the differences between the hills and valley.
Meitei/Meetei becoming ST could bring back and intensify the hill-valley division and be the reason behind the idea of Meitei for Meitei and Chingmee for Chingmee. Till now, we are not able to decolonize ourselves.
Writer : Sh.Ajit  

Citizenship Amendment Act 2019: The Great Lotus‘Rope Trick’ Unfold

By : Dr.Aniruddha Babar
Former Advocate
Asst. Professor of Political Science, Tetso College, Dimapur
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

“The forest was shrinking but the trees kept voting for the axe as its handle was made of wood and they thought it was one of them.”
~ Turkish Proverb
The RajyaSabha on Wednesday 11th December, 2019 passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill with a majority of 125 MPs voting in favour and 105 voting against it. It was thought to be a close contest; however abstinence of number of political parties from participating in the voting played a significant role. There were around 16 members who did not vote in the House. This included two from BJP MPs, one from INC MP, three from Shiv Sena MPs and two from NCP, IND, and BSP each. Apart from them, one MP each from the AITC, SP, JD(S) and TRS parties did not attend the CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT BILL2019 proceedings. History will remember the names of those who have voted for this HISTORIC Bill and those who preferred to remain silent when the flag of secularism and voice of democracy locked in captivity.
For the first time in the constitutional, parliamentary and political history of India, now, the law makes religion a criterion for the granting of citizenship to migrants and refugees by excluding Muslims – regardless of whether they face persecution in their own countries – from its provisions. The ‘exclusionary’ politics which the ruling government has played in legal arena – by making ‘politically suitable’ amendments in Foreigners and Passport Act in 2015 became a part of grand conspiracy to give yet another ‘Unconstitutional Shock’ to India in the form of Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 which has now become a Law after an assent of the Hon’ble President of India. The present government and auxiliary communal forces have been playing with the sentiments as well as the constitutional fabric of this nation through parliamentary routes and other means & modes since 2014 sometimes in the name of Demonetisation, GST, Art.370, Love Jihaad, TripleTalaak, Gharwapsi Movement, Black Money (KaaalaaaDhannnn) or sometimes in the name of NRC and CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT.  
The major attraction of this Bill is that it grants super-fast track Indian citizenship rights to non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan – Hindus, Parsis, Christians, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs while suppressing the voices and concerns of the people from the north east region which is going to be affected the most by this Act.In the past, whenever people faced persecution, which happened with Tamil Hindus in Sri Lanka, when genocide happened in countries like Uganda, when Pondicherry, Goa were liberated, all these people who were the victims of their history were granted Indian citizenship on pure humanitarian ground. However, religion was never made a legal ground for giving citizenship as it not only violates the foundation of constitution but also threatens the values that India has cherished for thousands of years. Moreover, a historical fact must be acknowledgedthat the states which has been formed on the basis of religion that ‘by nature’ discriminate against minorities, and now a time has come for the government to assure that this will not happen in India. Now the common belief has been building up that the very basic nature of CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT 2019 which has now become a law will reflect its communal character with all its might and turn this glorious, free nation into some sort of Religious Republic where mejoritarianism would be the norm.At the outset it must be understood that the People from the northeast does not understand religious dynamics. They do not know its n bits about Hindu-Muslim ‘thing’; a notion that mainlanders have developed. They are straight people. However, this Act strive to inject the ideas of ‘Religious Binaries’ in the free, uncontaminated, pureculture of people  who doesn’t believe in ‘religious fetishism’,  ‘exhibitionism’, ‘discrimination’ and does not weigh nationalism and patriotism on the scale of ‘Religion’.  
Moreover, there is a reason to believe that the entire CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT affair has also gone parallel to fix the holes created by the failed NRC exercise. Question arises as to how it will differentiate between ‘illegal immigrants’ from those who claim to have been persecuted religiously. “In the case of those Hindus who have been excluded from the NRC, they have submitted legacy data saying they are residents of India. However, ironically it seems this Act wants to tell them, ‘no you are from Bangladesh’ and then make them legally entitled for the grant of citizenship? People of all religions and also those who are non-religious have the right to live as an Indian citizen. There is a conspiracy to tear down democratic fabric and constitutional values of justice, equality, liberty and fraternity upon which this nation has been founded, and establish dictatorship and make India a religious state. It is said that, one bad idea can often lead to many others, similarly one mistake and omission if goes unchecked paves the way for another. The National Register of Citizens (NRC) left us with 1.9 million people classified as ‘illegal immigrants’ — though they still have a right of appeal. Over 50 per cent of these ‘illegal immigrants’ are Hindus and, who; in the central government’s plan of action, immediately need to be saved from the threat of statelessness. Hence, the CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT, 2019 has become an urgent political necessity for the government not only to save the Hindus but also to ‘catch’ a golden opportunity to become a saviour of millions of poor, rejected, dejected, helpless, scared people. Now since CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT 2019 has been given Red Carpet Treatment in parliament, the millions of Hindus who’ve landed in the NRC trap can, after due process,will be granted Indian citizenship however Muslims will still be prosecuted in the Foreigners Tribunals. These thoughts lingering in the minds of the people of northeast are enough to disturb people especially the indigenous people who are already fighting daily battles on different fronts for survival. The quadratic equation of CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT 2019 needs to be understood in summation with NRC discourse.
The unconstitutional ACT like CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT, 2019 which the ruling government has staunchly advocated and got it passed through the parliamentary scrutiny stating that it will bring light in the life of millions of persecuted minority communities from 6 notified religions and 3 countries is actually silent about ‘religious persecution’. The CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT which now has become Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, No. 47 of 2019 dt. 12th December, 2019 which has been published in official Gazette of India do not have term ‘persecution’or ‘persecuted communities’ or ‘religious persecution’ (It must be pointed out here that the CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT does not use the category religious minorities anywhere in its text. The Act only gives reference to the notifications dated September 7, 2015 and July 18, 2016 to the Passports Act and the Foreigners Act, which mention the term ‘religious persecution’.)nor have any further provisions regarding identification, verification of ‘persecuted person’. There is no definition of ‘Persecution’, ‘Persecuted Person’, ‘Refugee’, ‘Immigrant’ (in the context of current Amendment) in the Act. There is no procedure given in the Act as to how a person could prove himself as someone who has been a victim of Religious persecution in a country (among 3 notified countries) he fled away from. The insidious Bill which has now become an Act seems to have been drafted hurriedly without giving any weightage to the core ‘jurisprudential elements’ and the ‘principles of statute drafting’. In this context, now a simple question arises as to why ruling government felt a need, what kind of emergency situation they perceived which compelled them to draft, present and pass the Bill hurriedly? Have they been trying to cover up the failures of their political endeavours? Have they been trying to divert the mass attention from the core problems of ‘unemployment, economic recession, new education policy, privatisation of education, drastic disinvestment, end of scholarships, slow implementation of Mandal Commission, reduction in budget provision for school and higher education? Fee hikes? Lateral entry in Civil Services?Or, are they trying to divert mass attention from the mass agitation and protests against ‘Electronic Voting Machine’?
Primarily unconstitutional bill like CAB which in itself, by nature is unconstitutional should not have been brought before the parliament for debate. Such a Bill becoming the law of land over the graves of the voices of millions in northeast India is a blatant violation of the preamble of the constitution which begins with…”.WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA….” The very basic idea of India, the people of it, unity in diversity, constitutional government, centre-state relationship, public welfare, religious freedom, social justice, secularism, liberty, freedom of speechetc; have brought in question by this monstrous exercise of CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT, 2019.This Law is also a direct threat to Art. 371(A), 371 (B), 371 ( c ), 371 (F), 371 (G), 371 (H), as it defeats the very purpose for which the special constitutional status has been granted to the states in northeast. No state in northeast, if nod to Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, whether it comes under its purview or not, will be able to protect itself from inevitable demographic and political changes along with invisible socio-political-cultural undercurrents that this new amendment will bring. This amendment will also bring direct attack on the resources of society which already exist in scarcity. Moreover, in the context of the political realities of the northeast India, it may be understood that the Peace-making attempts, possibilities of political solutions, new experiments and models in governance; all will be affected by this new development the impact of which will be beyond measure and imagination of today’s generation of people of northeast India.
In reference to Constitutional Jurisprudence Article 14 which is at the centre of the discourse on CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT ACT is not confined to the citizens of India alone. It gives benefits of equality to any person within the territory of India even to a foreigner. This Amendment undoubtedly wants to create a class of refugees. Moreover, ‘Reasonable Classification’ has been a defence which has been taken by the advocates of the Amendment Act. However, the issue is not what the classification is, but how the classification has been made. Since the amendment speaks about the categories of people, then that must be justified by the state in the context of the rationale of the law, nexus of provisions in question with the object of the law, intelligible differentia,and the spirit of the constitution of India. The classification of people can only be valid in the eyes of law if it is rational. Classification based on religion, language, geography, community or beliefs can never be reasonable classification. If classification is based on the individual needs to have different citizenship then it can be considered as a reasonable classification. However, a person belong to particular community and state has material evidence that the presence of the person might pose threat to the national security then in such a condition state can deny citizenship to such a person, which is valid and acceptable in the eyes of law but state cannot reject citizenship merely on the basis of a particular religion that the applicant for citizenship belong to. This act goes against the fundamental tenets of the constitution; it is not just a question secularism but that of a Justice, equality, liberty and constructive liberalism as well. By adopting this regressive provision, I do not have an iota of doubt that the India is going in the direction of Law of Return of Israel that Israel is a natural home of all Jews.
This Act suppresses the voices of the people which is a blow to the core of democracy where the voices of the people, their aspirations given paramount importance. Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 is not just a betrayal of the people of Assam, but also an invalidation of their struggle that brought Assam Accord in 1985. The demand of Assamese has always been to protect their lands from millions of Bangladeshi illegal immigrants which seriously pose a threat to the very survival of the people and their culture. Assam Movement was never against any religion; however, it is the government by enacting this communal Act dividing society into Hindu-Muslims. Assam Movement was a battle against people who have been coming illegally in Assam bypassing the immigration norms. It was a raging issue soon after Independence forcing the government to bring the Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act in 1950. A National Register of Citizens (NRC) was to be prepared on the basis of Census 1951. The NRC finally came up earlier this year only to be turned out as a failed exercise and to supplement it CAB was introduced which has been widely opposed; that now has become a law.
However, question arises as to whether this matter is simply an internal matter of Assam, whether CAA will have any impact on neighbouring state including Nagaland, whether Art. 371(A), Inner Line Permit System is robust enough to face this new menace. We need to take out sometime to ponder upon it. The problem of Illegal Bangladeshi immigrants is not new to this region. Assam has been directly affected primarily because it shares 263 kilometres (163 mi) of border with Bangladesh out of which 143.9 kilometres (89.4 mi) is land and 119.1 kilometres (74.0 mi) is riverine. To control the influx of certain measures were taken in the past.When Bangladesh was not in existence, it was a part of Pakistan that was known in the past as East Pakistan (previously East Bengal)from which gradually after the partition of India saw millions of people migrating in India. These waves of Refugees who sneaked through Assam Border in India did not remain in India but gradually spread all over the northeast and also the eastern regions of the country including West Bengal. That was the beginning of a disaster; this was the point from where the illegal movements of East Pakistani Bengali immigrants started and continued, right up to the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971, both on an ongoing basis and with spikes during periods of particular communal unrest such as the 1964 East Pakistan riots and the 1965 India-Pakistan War, when it is estimated that 600,000 refugees left for India. Estimates of the number of refugees up to 1970 are over 5 million attributed to West Bengal alone. This includes around 4.1 million coming between 1946 and 1958 and 1.2 million coming between 1959 and 1971.Another major influx into India came in 1971 during the Bangladesh Liberation War. It is estimated that around 10 million East Bengali refugees entered India during the early months of the war. These refugees remain in India and became the citizens of India and never went back to independent Bangladesh due to economic, fear of insecurity for being a minority there.Along with Bengali Hindus, minority Chakmas and Hajongs too fled the erstwhile East Pakistan to take shelter in the Northeast during that period. The existence of Chakmas and Hajongs in their native place was further imperilled by the construction of the Kaptai dam on the river Karnaphuli in 1962.They entered India through what was then the Lushai Hills district of Assam (today’s Mizoram). While some stayed back with the Chakmas who were already living in the Lushai Hills, the Indian government gave settlement to a majority of the ‘recognized’ refugees in the sparsely populated North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), present-day Arunachal Pradesh.
The immigration issue is a worldwide nationality phenomenon. India is not exceptional that in turn is impacting Northeastern region of India and even the Nagas. The conflicts that occurred inBodoland between indigenous Bodos and illegal Bangladeshi immigrantsis a proof that the protected areas are bound to be troubled by the illegal immigrants. Moreover, illegal immigrants are able to easily obtain forged citizenship documents, enabling them to vote and access government services. The creation of the BTC and BTAD has failed to protect the rights of the Bodos or curb the unabated illegal migration from Bangladesh, leaving them increasingly vulnerable. The case of Bodoland can be a test case to all protected areas to assess their situation in the context of Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 and its possible impact with reference to the legalization of millions of people who have already been migrated, mixed, living, settled among different ethnic tribal populations of entire northeast for the past 70 years.
Moreover, in the commercial hub Dimapur, the population of these immigrants is quite big but officially this fact has not been confirmed. However, a stroll on the streets of Dimapur, local street markets will reveal a lot more shocking story that the papers of government may not. Majority of the labourers in Dimapur are reportedly from Bangladesh. Street vendors are from Bangladesh. All the north-eastern states were facing the problem of illegal immigration from Bangladesh, which posed a threat to the social fabric of the region and the demography of the state. Northeast India will definitely not like to see multiple Tripuras in making.
Moreover, the question of cut-off date which is set as 31st December, 2014 is irrelevant since maximum damage due to illegal immigrants has already been done in the last seven decades, the only difference is, by virtue of Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 the damage has now been legalized. The beneficiaries of people now can very well follow the procedure of application for e.g in Assam if not in Nagaland since Nagaland has been exempted from the operation of CAA and become official, bonafide, naturalized citizens and apply for ILP and enter Nagaland for different purposes including that of ‘employment’. Now, question is, on what ground can they be stopped from entering in Nagaland once they become legal citizen of the Republic of India? Our existing ILP system and Art 371 (A) will not be able to have much influence over the population of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants which already exist amongst us. Moreover, it is suspected that we already have approx. 12%(statistics may vary) of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants of our total population in Nagaland. Isn’t it a matter of grave concern?
Moreover, the instances of allegations of forged documentary evidences to support citizenship claims has also come in the light which directly impacted the local and state politics in northeast to the great extent. Also, it needs to be taken into account that the state of Nagaland shares its borders with Assam to the west and Arunachal Pradesh & Assam to the north. Moreover, it is blessed to have Dimapur as a Railway station that connects it not only to the rest of the northeast via Gauhati but also to the rest of India. Nagaland is not secluded or fortified, and it can never be. Physical barriers or legal barriers cannot stop Nagaland from getting exposed to the reality of the outside world. Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 brought a question not only of Constitutional survival of all the people of India, but also, the survival of culture and traditions that has been gifted to our Naga and other indigenous people by their great ancestors.
As reiterated by various legal experts, jurists, constitutional experts from time to time that the Citizenship Amendment Act of 2019 is unconstitutional. CAA will not stand to the test of the Constitution. All Assam Students Union, AIMIM chief AsaduddinOwaisi, Tripura royal scion, chairperson of Joint movement against CAB, PradyutDebbarman, Trinamool Congress MP MahuaMoitra, Congress leader and former minister Jairam Ramesh have filed their petitions before the Supreme Court to challenge the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019. It is heard that many more stakeholders including individuals, students unions, civil society organizations in different parts of the northeast will soon be moving to apex court to challenge the Law which has been democratically rejected by the majority of people of the northeast. The Final Constitutional mandate is yet to be delivered, but the people have already given their mandate. Let Democracy prevail!

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