The Naga Students' Federation (NSF), the apex students' body in Nagaland, has demanded withdrawal of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, saying the north-east cannot be a "dumping ground" for illegal immigrants. The NSF took out a protest rally here Friday to press for the bill's scrapping. "The north-east is not a dumping ground for illegal Bangladeshis," NSF president Kesosul Christopher Ltu said at the rally. The NSF is part of the North East Students' Organisation (NESO), an umbrella organisation of different student unions in the region which is opposed to the citizenship bill. The bill, introduced in Parliament in 2016, seeks to make Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship after staying in the country for a period of six years. Effigies of illegal immigrants and the bill were burnt by the students during the protest rally.
Ltu said all the north-eastern states were facing the problem of illegal immigration from Bangladesh, which posed a threat to the social fabric of the region and the demography of the states. "We will strongly resist the creation of another Tripura in the north-east," Ltu said, urging the Centre to recognise the efforts of the student community to strengthen the nation's secular fabric. The bill was a threat to the language, culture and identity of the indigenous people of the north-east, he said, adding that the NESO and the people of the region would not accept it. The NSF had submitted a letter to the Nagaland government in August, urging it to strengthen the state's mechanism to curb the influx of illegal immigrants. NSF general secretary Imtiyapang said the organisation had taken out a similar rally here and also in Dimapur in April, following a call by the NESO demanding the inclusion of Dimapur district under the purview of the Inner Line Permit. The Inner Line Permit is an official travel document issued by the government to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into a protected or restricted area for a limited period.