CAB a hangover of the colonial mindset : NEFIP

    12-Sep-2019
Newmai News Network
SHILLONG, Sep 11: The North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP) has opined that the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) is a hangover of the colonial mindset, while also terming it as ‘interior colonisation to enforce a strict demographic hierarchy’.
This was said in a statement issued by the NEFIP on Wednesday in reaction to statements made by Union Home Minister, Amit Shah at the fourth conclave of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) attended by the Chief Ministers of eight North-East States.
It may be noted here that Shah had said that the proposed CAB will not be in conflict with the Inner Line Permit (ILP) legislation in force in some States in the region. He also stated that the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill would also not be in conflict with existing laws pertaining to safeguarding the identities, culture and customs of the indigenous people of the region.
“The CAB that the Centre is contemplating will not affect Article 371 or the laws that protect the identities of the people of the North East,” Shah had said while also asserting that the Centre intends to expel all illegal immigrants not just from Assam but the entire country.
The NEFIP said that these assertions are empty, misleading and of double standards, while maintaining that the very concept of CAB is an attempt to naturalise citizenship of illegal immigrants in the region. “The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeks to make drastic changes in the citizenship and immigration norms of the country by relaxing the criteria to become an Indian citizen,” it said.
While pointing out that the Citizenship Act of 1955 denies citizenship rights to any illegal immigrant, whereby an ‘illegal immigrant’ is defined as a person who (i) enters India without a valid passport or with forged documents, or (ii) who stays in the country beyond the visa permit, the NEFIP said that the present Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is an attempt to legitimise the defaulters and is prima facie unconstitutional and against Article 14 (Right to Equality) of the Constitution and corrupting the basic concept of secularism as per the Doctrine of Basic structures of the Constitution of India.
“NEFIP appeals to the leadership at the Centre not to take the North East Indigenous people for a ride with rhetoric assurances but to address our concerns with all seriousness and with pragmatic approach,” the statement read.