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s this the promise of Acche Din?

By Aiborlang Nongsiej

The eve of the New Year 2019 brought lots of joy and happiness to all people. In fact, they greet each other with smiling faces and expect the New Year to be a good and prosperous year. However, January 8 of 2019 turned to be the worse beginning for the people of Northeast India with the Citizenship Bill 2016 being passed in the Lok Sabha. The Bill seeks to provide Indian Citizenship to the Non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Since then, different organizations in Northeast India have held protests against this Bill and it continues to date. Therefore, being a citizen from Northeast India I just want to ask the NDA led BJP government, if this Bill is going to bring Acche Din or to destroy the nation, particularly the people of Northeast India? In the past few days we have seen different organizations of Northeast India protesting against the Bill by way of protests being held in different states. Unfortunately many people are seriously injured and even hospitalized because they are against the passing of the Bill by the central government. The Government of Tripura ordered a Lathi charge against the protestors.

The Citizenship Bill is Passed by the leadership of the NDA led BJP government, yet ironically few BJP leaders of Northeast India have stood with the people to protest against the Bill. Several local news channels and newspapers reported that even BJP Chief Ministers such as N Biren Singh of Manipur, Sarbananda Sonowal of Assam and BJP leaders of Meghalaya such as Shaun Lyngdoh, A.L. Hek and Sanbor Shullai are also against the Bill. In fact, some of them even threatened to quit the party if such a Bill is enacted. However, the question that arises is whether this is a genuine protest against the Bill by BJP members of Northeast or is it because of the next general election that is knocking at our door?

Let us not forget the promise of Acche Din by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his election campaign in 2014. Till date that promise has not been fulfilled. Of course, there are lots of changes brought about by the leadership of Narendra Modi. Unfortunately these changes are only stumbling blocks for the common people of India. Demonetization which seeks to bring back the black money from different banks outside India had no effect on the rich, while the ordinary people were struggling, especially the illiterate and the people from rural areas who have no contact with the bank. I have heard that several people took advantage and exchanged money with some illiterate people from the rural areas that had no access to the banks and they exchanged the money with the value of 500 and 1000 denominations. Again the implementation of GST is of no gain to the ordinary people except the rise in prices of commodities in the market which again affected the common people. Hence, the next general election is coming soon and I do not know when the promise of Acche Din promised by the Prime Minister will be fulfilled.

The Citizenship Bill is very much against the people of Northeast India, particularly the tribals and it is because of this that many organizations like the North East Student’s Organization (NESO) held a protest across the Northeast. As far as my knowledge is concerned the Bill is going to destroy the people of Northeast India. Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and Assam share long borders with Bangladesh and therefore the implementation of this Bill will affect the people of these four states of Northeast India. Hence, I wonder how the BJP-led NDA government could think of such a Bill when India is already suffering from unemployment, over- population, lack of nutrition, poor in heath facilities, and illiteracy in most of the states of India particularly the Northeast region which is neglected by the Centre. Personally, I am afraid that militancy may again rise up in Northeast India if the Bill is enacted as threatened by the Confederation of Hynniewtrep Social Organisations (CoHSO) (ST January 16, 2019). I wonder if this is the Acche Din promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The rescue operation at Ksan East Jaintia Hills, in which 15 miners are trapped inside the rat-hole for more than a month, shows no positive signs of tracing the bodies inside the rat-holes, in spite of using different technologies by the operators. This reveals the capacity of Indian technology. The news about the miners trapped at Ksan is being reported globally by different news channels of the world and sad to say that the whole world also came to know how poorly equipped India is to undertake rescue operations. With this rate of development, how can a country accommodate more non-citizens from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan? When Donald Trump campaigned for his Presidential election in America, he promised the people to build a wall to prevent migrants from Mexico to America, while our Narendra Modi Government seeks to grant Indian citizenship to the aliens from three countries. This shows how foolish we are in spite of India being the country with the second largest population in the world and burdened with economic problems. Does Acche Din, also mean that people are forced to rise up in rebellion?

Every day read of this burning issue in the newspapers and I believe that it is a threat to the Northeastern region. Hence people of the region are against this Bill. It is very unfortunate that the BJP led NDA Government passed this Bill at the end of their tenure before the next general election that is coming soon.  I do not know what the intention for passing this Bill is. But what I know is that they have promised Acche Din to the people residing in the Indian Territory who voted them to power during the last general election and not to the Non-Muslims of Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  It is very unfortunate to see my own people from northeast protesting against the Bill while the central government pays no attention to the protests. In fact the Lok Sabha where the BJP is a majority passed this Citizenship Bill in spite of the protest in the Northeast on that particular day. Now we see that the central government pays no attention to the sentiments and emotions of the people of Northeast India.

Prime Minister Modi must be reminded that the promise of Acche Din by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to the citizens of India and not to the citizens of our neighboring countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

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