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'North-East Forum for Indigenous Peoples' formed to fight CAB

'North-East Forum for Indigenous Peoples' formed to fight CAB

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North-East North-East

Guwahati, April 5, 2019:

The civil society organizations in the of North-East India have formed a common platform in Imphal to fight the common issues in the region unitedly.

A North-East Peoples’ Conference 2019 was organized by CSOs from all the 7 North-East states and hosted by MANPAC or Manipur People Against CAB at Imphal from 1-3 April 2019. The conference was held at Imphal’s City Convention Centre.

The 3-day conference dwelled at length on the implication of the Bill for the entire North-East region and the possibility of it being implemented after the 2019 elections as per the utterances of certain Indian leaders such as BJP President Amit Shah who made the announcement in North Lakhimpur.

The indigenous Tripuris narrated their own experiences of being reduced to a minority by migrants and warned the other indigenous peoples gathered not to allow the same to happen to them.

Although the threat of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is over, for now, indigenous people of the North-East region continue to be up-in-arms against the ‘jati destroying’ Bill and now a forum has been formed by leaders across the region to oppose the threat of the Bill in the future. The resentment over the Bill resulted in many communities joining hands to fight it together and although the hue-and-cry over the issue seems to have died down, the fight still continues.

This was perhaps the first ever gathering of CSOs from the 7 sister states of the North-East region, and other pertinent issues such as illegal immigration in general, AFSPA, etc. The groundbreaking consensus arrived at the conference was the acknowledgment of misunderstandings and ongoing conflict of interests on numerous issues between the North-East states and between communities.

However, the gathering of leaders resolved to dwell on issues of common interests or threats, particularly CAB at the moment. But considering the symbolic and the historic coming of indigenous peoples under a common umbrella, it was felt that the indigenous communities of the NE Region should have a common platform henceforth to address issues facing the NE people now and for the future as well.

Thus, it was unanimously resolved to set up a permanent body by the nomenclature “North East Forum for Indigenous Peoples” or NEFIP.

The conference ended on a strong note and it was decided that the indigenous peoples of the North-East will continue to oppose the Bill tooth and nail even in the future no matter the circumstances; an appeal was also made to the Indian government not to impose laws which are detrimental to peace and harmony or against the interests of the North-Eastern states.

The NEFIP is to be represented by 3 members from all the seven North-East states with one member designated as state coordinator. Ningthouja Lancha of Manipur was selected as the convenor of NEFIP.  The next meeting under the banner of NEFIP is to be held at Shillong on April 27.