A delegation of the Workers’ Power of Meghalaya and Thma U Rangli-Juki informed that they have filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019.
Addressing the media on Thursday, Mantre Passah of the Workers’ Power of Meghalaya said that the CAA is an attack on the freedom of religion and privacy of individuals.
Passah said, “We are challenging the CAA because it attacks the fundamental rights of the individuals specifically belonging to the tribal communities in the Northeast with respect to their persecution as a trans-border tribal community as well as their status in neighbouring countries, including the Khasi-Pnar, Garo and other smaller tribal communities.”
According to Passah, the said Act fails to take into account the realities of the inhabitants of those border regions, many of whom follow indigenous religions and do not identify as being a part of any of the six selected religious communities.
Passah said there is a blatant design to create divide among the various tribal communities, especially those who follow the indigenous traditional belief system like the Niam Tynrai _Khasi-Pnars) and Songsarek (Garos)- which are distinct belief systems and are not part of any mainstream religion who do not fall under any of the religions mentioned in the CAA.
Rev Kyrsoibor Pyrtuh, another member of the organisation, said it must be understood that historical factors like the drawing up of borders during the partition of India as well as colonial British policy have played a role in affecting the relationship and connections of these tribal communities.“This Act fails to take into account this fact in addition to being arbitrary and motivated by religious discrimination. That is why we as the petitioners feel that this Act is clearly motivated by insidious thinking and planning of the present ruling regime, the Hindutva ideology of which is based on the belief of Hindu majoritarianism and supremacy in the nation state of India, and which treats minorities, religious or otherwise, as secondary,” Rev Pyrtuh said.
“This CAA does not acknowledge or understand the historical context especially of the regions here,” he added.
Further he continued that the original CAA 1955 enacted has no religions based conditions unlike the amended act brought by the NDA government whose main basis is religion.
Pyrtuh said that the CAA 2019 also violates the right to privacy of refugees belonging to indigenous tribes following traditional religion and imposes unconditional conditions upon them.
Pyrtuh said that the CAA was formulated without any thoughts for the people of Northeast and particularly the state of Meghalaya which has a more than 400 km border with Bangladesh.
Pyrtuh added that Meghalaya is one of the states in the Northeast that is in the border with Bangladesh and as per the CAA it says that the Bangladeshi who are facing religious persecution will be granted citizenship in India.
NNN | SHILLONG