Amid anti-CAA protests, prominent senior citizens' group in Nagaland slams state government for supporting legislation

Members of the Senior Citizens Association of Nagaland (SCAN), a newly-formed civil society organisation, met recently to discuss issues which they believe would 'invariably impact' the Naga society.

Karishma Hasnat February 03, 2020 17:45:22 IST
Amid anti-CAA protests, prominent senior citizens' group in Nagaland slams state government for supporting legislation
  • Many senior citizens in Nagaland recently slammed the state government for supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act.

  • Members of the Senior Citizens Association of Nagaland (SCAN), a newly-formed civil society organisation, met recently to discuss issues which they believe would 'invariably impact' the Naga society.

  • 'The present Naga leaders feel secure in their false belief that the CAA is not applicable to the state of Nagaland,' said SCAN president Khekiye K Sema.

Amid nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, many senior citizens in Nagaland recently slammed the state government for supporting the legislation. Members of the Senior Citizens Association of Nagaland (SCAN), a newly-formed civil society organisation, met recently to discuss issues which they believe would “invariably impact” the Naga society. The meeting emphasised on the threat posed by Citizenship Amendment Act and the Pan Naga Hoho, a 'common platform' proposed by the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) faction for the 'cultural and emotional integration of Nagas'.

“The present Naga leaders feel secure in their false belief that the CAA is not applicable to the state of Nagaland — our member representatives of both Houses of Parliament disgracefully voted in favour of CAA, just so to remain in power and gain budgetary favour of the BJP government at the Centre, individually or collectively,” said SCAN president and retired IAS officer Khekiye K Sema, calling upon Nagas to see the larger picture.

“The Citizenship Amendment Act is a step closer towards fulfilling BJP’s intention of making India a Hindu Rashtra. The BJP government may tolerate the existing Christian minority in India now, but has already started a war against conversion of other faiths to Christianity,” added Sema.

Amid antiCAA protests prominent senior citizens group in Nagaland slams state government for supporting legislation

File image of KK Sema. Image courtesy: Facebook

On the Inner Line Permit (ILP), Sema said, “There is no denying that the ILP could play a major role in restricting non-locals from entering Nagaland. However, the present mechanism of the ILP is nothing but a poor joke. Those who are responsible for issuing permits only end up earning some pocket money through it." The retired IAS officer stressed that Nagaland needs to show solidarity with Assam in the agitation against CAA.

“Some Nagas are violating norms by bringing labourers from outside under the ILP, and once the work is done, let them continue to stay in the state for years. They also get their ILP renewed without a question being raised. Many of them are already enrolled in the electoral roll with voting rights as Indian citizens. The majority of these labourers come to Nagaland from Assam. So, when Assam is in trouble and rightly agitated against the CAA, the same issue will impact Nagaland. We need to stand with Assam on this issue,” he added.

On the issue of the proposed Pan Naga Hoho (PNH) by NSCN-IM, SCAN is apprehensive that the Nagas of Nagaland will be reduced to a minority in their own land with this establishment.

Sema noted, "The PNH will be a statutory body created through an Act of Parliament, supposedly for cultural and emotional integration. This body will comprise of all Nagas — from Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and present-day Nagaland. But there is no clarity on the membership criteria of this House. Like the present Naga Hoho, this establishment will make the Nagas of Nagaland a minority in their own land,” said Sema.

“Our Naga brothers in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh will have their Regional Autonomous Council — independently exercising their authority within their respective area without any scope of interference by any Nagas from elsewhere. By virtue of their being members of PNH, they can dictate terms within the state of Nagaland. The Nagas of Nagaland will not accept such nonsense,” he remarked.

The senior citizens' forum also mentioned that NSCN (IM) is pressing hard to have the PNH established in and around Hebron with 1000 acres land earmarked for its construction.

“The Nagas of Nagaland did not sustain a movement for the past 73 years only to finally fail to salvage sovereignty or integration, and at the fag-end even lose territory that is already ours,” read the statement by SCAN President KK Sema and General Secretary Medoselhou Keretsu.

Three months since the supposed conclusion of the Naga peace talks between the Centre and National Socialist Council of Nagaland, Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) last year, uncertainty looms over the future of Nagas with little progress on the Naga political issue. The government had imposed a deadline to strike a deal with the IM faction - Nagaland Governor RN Ravi had announced in July 2019 that Prime Minister Narendra Modi desired to conclude the talks within three months. However, the two sides are still working to reach an agreement, and are currently engaged in negotiations.

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