DIMAPUR, May 25 - The Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) has termed the statement of re-elected Lok Sabha member Tokheho Yepthomi that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is not a threat to the Naga people, as “misleading”.
In a statement today, NPCC president K Therie said the proposed amendment to the Bill does not speak of people who overstay, as the Government’s objective is to accommodate any person from six religious communities – Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Christian and Sikh – from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and make him or her eligible for citizenship if the period of residence is not less than six years.
According to Therie, as per the proposed amendment, even those individuals who illegally entered India in the past and fulfil the stated time-frame would be eligible for Indian citizenship. He asserted that nobody can stop them from enjoying Constitutional provisions and entitlements like voting rights, ownership of property and legal protection. “We will be submerged under the ocean of these immigrants,” the PCC chief said, warning that they would come in crores within a decade.
Therie referred to Yepthomi’s statement that the Nagas are not aware of the contents of the Bill. “We may not be as qualified as he is, but we have read the Bill and we understand each word and meaning,” he said.
Therie also said Yepthomi’s assertion is not in the interest of the Naga people. He warned that the Lok Sabha member would be held responsible by the future generation.
On the other hand, Yepthomi, in a release on Saturday, said the Bill needs to be clarified as it has been misconstrued and become a propaganda tool.
He said it has been wrongly put in the public domain that once the Bill is passed, the entire North East would be overrun by “crores of immigrants” waiting at the borders of neighbouring countries.
“This notion is totally false and has misled a lot of people,” Yepthomi said. He added the Bill would only grant immediate citizenship to immigrants who entered India prior to December 31, 2014.
The MP said one needs to look at the report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee consisting of 30 members – 20 from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha – on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 to know the facts about the Bill.