NEW DELHI, Oct 11 - A day after Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that Gorkhas in Assam are not foreign nationals, the North East Students Organisation (NESO) on Thursday demanded that the Indo-Nepal Treaty should not be made applicable in the Northeast.
Addressing a press conference at the Press Club of India here today, NESO chairman Samuel B Jyrwa, general secretary Sinam Prakash Singh and advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya said that the Government of India cannot allow Nepali citizens to settle and work in the Northeast.
Bhattacharya said that even the Gorkhas are opposed to it. The Gorkha people settled in Assam are part and parcel of the Assamese society, Bhattacharya said, adding that even the All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union is opposed to the Indo-Nepal Treaty and agitating for its repeal.
On Wednesday, the Centre said that any member of the Gorkha community holding Nepalese nationality and who has arrived in India by land or air over the Nepal border even without a passport or visa, and staying in India for any length of time shall not be treated as an illegal migrant if he or she is in possession of any identity documents such as Nepalese passport, Nepalese citizenship certificate, voter identity card issued by the Election Commission of Nepal, limited validity photo identity certificate issued by the Nepalese Mission in India, etc.
“The Government of India is playing divisive politics in Assam. The Gorkhas living in Assam for ages are feeling threatened by the new entrants,” Bhattacharya said.
The NESO also demanded that the Inner Line Permit (ILP) be introduced in all the northeastern states to protect the indigenous people of the region.
The regional apex body of students on Wednesday called on Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and submitted an eight-point charter of demands. The NESO demands included preparation of National Register of Citizens (NRC) for all the states of the region.
The modalities may differ from state to state but the NRC must be implemented, the NESO chairman said. “The illegal infiltration from Bangladesh has changed the entire demography of the Northeast,” Jyrwa said.
Bhattacharya said the Government of India should withdraw all notifications and orders, including the Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules, 2015 and the Foreigners (Amendment) Order, 2015.
The NESO leaders pointed out that the total population of Tripura is 40 lakh, while the number of indigenous people in that state is only 10 lakh. They suggested that the Government of India should open dialogue with Bangladesh urging them to take back the illegal migrants.
The people of the Northeast are also against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and it should be repealed, demanded Bhattacharya.
The NESO also demanded repeal of the AFSPA and expediting dialogues with armed groups of the region for an early negotiated settlement.
The regional student body also demanded that the Northeast be treated as a special employment zone.