Atithi Deva Bhava? Only if legal : Citizenship Amendment Bill- a desperate Govt. attempt to fulfill election promises

David Debbarma

As a social activist, my primany concern is the welfare of the people. To be precise, the welfareof the indigenious people of my state, Tripura and the citizen of the North East India. The fact that the indigenious people are endangered and shunted tobe a minority in their own land is neither a shocking news nor a deniable fact in today's date. The partition of India followed by the Liberation war of 1971 has resulted in unprecidented and voluminous influx of illegal immigrants from former East pakistan, i.e. Bangladesh in the north easter states of India, specially Tripura as it is a neighboring state. The magnitude of the immigrant floodgate was tremendous, which in turn disrupted the entire demographic balance of the state, as well as the ownership of the landand resources. To make it worse, on July 15, 2016, a bill by the name Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 was proposed in the Lok Sabha. With The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the government plans to change the definition of illegal migrants. The Bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha  seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to provide citizenship to illegal migrants, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, who are of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian extraction. However, the Act doesn't have a provision for Muslim sects like Shias and Ahmediyas who also face persecution in Pakistan. The Bill also seeks to reduce the requirement of 11 years of continuous stay in the country to six years to obtain citizenship by naturalisation. 
Now, anyone even a little familiar with modern history and affairs know the turmoil that the indigenious people had to face right from the beginning of the influx. The multiple horrific conflicts between the indigenious people and the immigrants have left the state in a diatopic state of imbalance where only 31% of state population, according to the census of 2011, is of the indigenious folks. Outnubered and overpowered, the indigenious people are already being brutally deprived of their rights and political strength. On  23  August,  2016,  there  was  serious  attack  to  the  indigenous  peoples  of  Tripura  which  resulted  in  casualties  to  thousands   of  people  and  which  incident/conflict  is  yet  to  be  resolved  and  a  case  on  the  issue  is  still lying  with  the SC/ST  Commission  for  disposal  and  decision.  In  the  1980s,  2013,  2014,  etc.  thousands  of  people  have  lost  their  lives  in  Assam  owing  to  the  violent  conflict  between  the  illegal  migrants  and  indigenous  peoples  of  the  State. 
Apart from the conflicts, we should also consider the geographical accomodation and encroachments. More than  2/3rd of the state comes under hilly or forest covered areas, leaving only a small fraction under the urband or developed area. While it is in the indian culture to follow the principle of "Atithi Deva Bhava" (Guests are equal to God), on practical, cultural, sentimental and realist ground, the ideology that has been followed in Tripura since thousands of years is "Prakriti Deva Bhava" (Nature is equal to the real God), hence, it is out of the question tho think that the indigenious people shall ever give up their land, nature, culture or heritage to accomodate illegal aliens. The population toda is already more than 37 Lakhs, how much more can this tiny state of 10,492 km² spanning area support without spiraling into irreversable damageand loss of resources? No, we dont want to test that and find out. There is no possible way that we shall ever be okay with the idea of losing our own resources and identity to accomodate more people who have no other intention but to usurp as much as they can for them to settle down with ease. The people of Tripura and North East are alway hospitable towards guests of the state and region, but that is limited to the point where guests behave like guest and not demand to be the citizen of the state, that too fora bill that is religiously biased. The  intent  of  the  provisions  in  the  proposed  Bill   further  violate  the  International  Covenant  on  Civil  and  Political  Rights,  the  International  Covenant  on  Elimination  of  all  forms  of  Racial  Discrimination  as  well,  goes  against  Articles  14  and  21  of  the  Indian  Constitution  whereby,  right  to  “equality  before  the  law  or  equal  protection  of  the  laws  within  the  territory  of  India”  (Art. 14)  is  ensured  to  all  Indian  citizens   as  also  the  right  to  life  or  personal  liberty   (Art.  21)  which  is  very  inclusive  as  it  includes  right  to  livelihood,  right  to  be  human  and  is  against  any  form  of  deprivation  and  dispossession  which  the  proposed  Bill  will seek  to  do  as  and  when  adopted  and  implemented. 
The Citizenship Amendment Bill is an idea of  legitimizing  illegal influx  into  the  region, but is  discriminatory  and  has  communal  overtones which in turn jeopardises the total harmony of the state and injects religious bias. The BJP might have promised to legitimise the illeal immigrants in the 2014 General Elections, and also is one of the coalition governemnt of the state, but the people of the state shall not let them do as they please and get away with it. This Bill goes against the welfare of the indigenious people and hence, cannot get approved and must be dropped right now, for, we the indigenious people shall not allow any further disrutption that is likely to threaten our existence and identity even more. Moreover, it shall definitely give birth to more conflicts where innocent lives will be lost again. 
I sincerely hope that the government shall not turn a blind eye to the fate of the Indigeious people for the sake of their own agenda in order to fulfill their election promises and secure themselves.

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