TODAY -

Amending Citizenship Bill : Citizenship on basis of religion !
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: May 14 2018 -



What is the stand of the BJP led Government in Imphal on the issue ?

This is important for remember the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 is being sought to be passed by the BJP led NDA Government and this Bill seeks to grant citizenship to any Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi and Jain from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The question is, will the State Government just ignore the question as it is led by the BJP or make its stand known ?

This question is important for remember the popular demand of the people is to enact a law that will regulate the inflow of non-locals into Manipur.

And while there are no statistics to show how many Hindu migrants, particularly from Bangladesh, have infiltrated into the territory of Manipur, most probably via Jiribam, its possibility cannot be simply wished away.

To the people it is not a question of which religion the migrants may belong to but about saving the land and resources of the land for the native people and this can be ensured by regulating the inflow of non-locals into the State.

Religion dictating who is an Indian and who is not and this cannot be comfortable for anyone, particularly those who are not Hindus or Buddhists or Jains or Sikhs.

This again cannot be a comfortable situation for even the Hindus in the North East, particularly Manipur, for what is at stake here is the indigenous identity of the people and no group of people can be and should be identified with religion.

This is the broad understanding of secularism, which is laid down in clear terms in the Constitution of India.

The votaries of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 may argue that if Israel may have such a provision to grant citizenship to all Jews, then there is nothing wrong in India doing the same with Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains.

The difference is, India is a secular country.

It is also interesting to note that the voice of protest in the North East has been raised by student organisations, particularly, the North East Studentsí Organisation (NESO) and its constituent units, AMSU in the case of Manipur, and not by any political party.

The equation may be understood through the prism of vote bank politics.

Political parties may be hesitant to voice their opposition to the Bill publicly at the moment, for they must be gauging the mood of the people and are vary of rubbing Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and Buiddhists the wrong way.

Nothing can be more unfortunate than this. Vote bank politics and this is something which can be easily seen in the said Bill and this is something which the people must oppose tooth and nail.

How can citizenship be decided along religious line, is the question that should be raised to the BJP led Government, both at Imphal and Delhi.

Opposing the Bill should not be seen as being anti-Hindu and pro-any religion, but must be seen as trying to protect the land and interests of the indigenous people of the land.

Before the voice of protests gets louder and more belligerent, it would do good for the BJP led Government in Imphal to issue a statement and get things done to enact a Bill that will regulate the inflow of non-local people into the State, for in the absence of any Constitutional mechanism to protect the interests of the indigenous people, their fate can only be imagined.



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