NESO asks if India government stands for illegal foreigners from Bangladesh

Pothashang News Service: Imphal, January 7, 2020: “Is the government of India for its own citizens or for the illegal foreigners from Bangladesh?” The North  East  Students’ Organisation  (NESO) Asked.

NESO representing  eight  major  students movements  of  the  seven  North  Eastern  states, is reiterating its strong opposition to this draconian Act, Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, 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, NESO said in a statement released on Tuesday.

NESO strongly opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill since 2016 which has now become an Act.

NESO 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).

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 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 government of India 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, NESO said.

The then home minister in the United Front government, late Indrajit Gupta, on May 6, 1997, made a startling revelation and stated in the floor of the Lok Sabha that the number of illegal migrants stood at nearly 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, it added.

The then minister of state for home affairs,  Prakash Jaiswal, on July 14, 2004, 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, Kiren Rijiju, in 2016, has stated in the Rajya Sabha that the estimated number of illegal Bangladeshi migrants to be two crores. If this is not a threat to the microscopic indigenous communities, then what? NESO asked.

This CAA is 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’, it said.

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 Act, is legitimising the presence of illegal infiltrators in NE 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, it said.

This is a treacherous act of the government of India 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, it added and asked for whom the government of India is?

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