SHILLONG, May 2 (Newmai): The North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP), while stressing on the need for a collective effort to address the problem of illegal influx into the Northeastern region, has decided to demand implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) in the states of the North-East.
This is one of the resolutions adopted at its meeting hosted by the Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisations (CoMSO) at the North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong on Wednesday.
The meeting was attended by 90 delegates belonging to different organisations of the Northeast region which include the Manipur People against CAB (MANPAC) and Joint Committee on Prevention of Illegal Immigrants (JCPI) from Nagaland.
“We will discuss and accordingly approach the Government of India as implementation of the UNDRIP will further safeguard the interest of the indigenous people,” NEFIP convenor, Ningthouja Lancha said.
The UNDRIP delineates and defines the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples including their ownership rights to cultural and ceremonial expression, identity, language, employment, health education and other issues, according to Lancha. It also emphasizes the rights of indigenous people to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations, he added.
Lancha then said that the total population of the indigenous peoples is only 1.8 crore of 5.2 crore in the NE region while adding that there are over 2 crore illegal immigrants in Assam and around 50 lakhs in Tripura. “We have become minority in our own homeland,” he lamented.
Asserting the need to collectively address the issue of illegal immigrants in the NE region, the Forum also resolved to support all organisations demanding the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP), National Register of Population (NRC) and other similar influx related regulations and laws in their respective states.
Meanwhile, the state coordinator of Nagaland, Theja Therieh informed that the NEFIP would continue to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) till the government of India decides to stop pursuing its implementation.
“In case the Government of India implements the Bill against our wishes, then we will be compelled to determine our own future collectively,” he said.
With regard to the BJP’s decision to bring back the CAB if voted back to power, Therieh said that the resolutions adopted by the Forum would be submitted after the formation of the new government at the Centre.