Nagaland: Opposition to UCC and Forest Conservation Act in the Assembly, CM said - the country will not disrespect its agreement
Nagaland: Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said that Nagaland is the only state that has joined the Indian Union with the signing of a political agreement - the 16-point agreement and the inclusion of Article 371A in the Constitution of India. He expressed hope that the Center will not disrespect its own agreement nor ignore the constitutional provisions given to the Nagas.
The Nagaland Assembly on Monday protested against the implementation of the proposed Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and Forest Conservation (Amendment) Act and demanded a 16-point accord and protection under Article 371A. All parties including Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), BJP, NCP, NPP, LJP (Ram Vilas), Naga People's Front (NPF), RPI (Athawale), JDU, and Independents discussed these issues on the first day of the monsoon session.
NPF MLA Kuzholuzo Neenu said the Nagas enjoy special protection under Article 371A and hence there is a need to discuss the Uniform Civil Code and the Forest Conservation Amendment Act. "Article 371A clearly states that no Act of Parliament shall interfere with the religious or social practices of the Nagas on the State of Nagaland, its customary laws and procedure, the administration of civil and criminal justice involving judgments in accordance with Naga customary laws and the land and its resources. shall not apply in relation to the ownership and transfer of such property, unless the State Assembly so decides." He said and proposed that the House pass a resolution to reject the UCC and the Forest Act.
Nagaland BJP president and cabinet minister Temjen Imna Along assured that they would stand by the resolution passed by the assembly on both issues. NCP legislature party deputy leader P Longan and NPP legislature party leader Nuklutoshi Longkumer also said that both laws cannot be implemented in Nagaland. Making concluding remarks on both discussions, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said that Nagaland is the only state that has joined the Indian Union with a political agreement – signing the 16-point agreement and insertion Article 371A in the Constitution of India. He expressed hope that the Center will not insult its own agreement nor ignore the constitutional provisions made in the interest of the Nagas. Rio informed the House that the state Cabinet has already submitted a report to the 22nd Law Commission to exempt the state from the Uniform Civil Code.
The Chief Minister said the Cabinet held a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and he assured to consider it. Rio, however, said that the state government is an ally of the ruling NDA at the Centre, hence it cannot go against the policies and decisions implemented by the Central government. The Chief Minister suggested that the House may pass a resolution appealing to the Center to 'completely exempt' Nagaland from the ambit of the UCC and the Forest Conservation Amendment Act. Subsequently, Speaker Sharegain Longkumar informed that separate proposals on both issues would be brought up for consideration on Tuesday.