Kohima: The Nagaland assembly on Monday opposed the proposed Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and implementation of the Forest Conservation (Amendment) Act and sought protection under the 16-Point Agreement and Article 371A.
All parties including the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), BJP, NCP, NPP, LJP (Ram Vilas), Naga People’s Front (NPF), RPI (Athawale), JD(U) and Independents discussed the issues on the first day of the monsoon session.
NPF MLA Kuzholuzo Nienu said Nagas have special protection under Article 371A and therefore there was a need to discuss the UCC and Forest Conservation Amendment Act.
“Article 371A clearly states that no act of Parliament shall apply to the State of Nagaland in respect of the religious or social practices of the Nagas, its customary laws and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary laws and ownership and transfer of land and its resources unless the state assembly so decides,” he said and proposed that the House pass a resolution rejecting the UCC and the forest Act.
Nagaland BJP president and cabinet minister Temjen Imna Along assured they would stand together with the resolution adopted by the assembly on both the issues.
Deputy leader of NCP legislature party P Longon and NPP legislature party leader Nuklutoshi Longkumer also said the two laws cannot be applicable in Nagaland.
Making the concluding remarks on both the discussions, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said Nagaland is the only state to have joined the Indian Union with the signing of a political agreement 16 Point Agreement and also insertion of Article 371A in the Constitution of India.
He expressed optimism that the Centre will not dishonor its own agreement nor would it overlook the Constitutional provisions given to the Nagas.
Rio informed the House the state cabinet has already submitted a representation to the 22nd Law Commission to exempt the state from UCC.
The CM said the cabinet held meetings with Union Home Minister Amit Shah and he assured to look into it.
Rio, however, said with the state government being an ally of ruling NDA at the Centre, it cannot go against the policies and decisions implemented by the central government.
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The CM suggested that the House can pass a resolution appealing to the Centre to totally exempt’ Nagaland from the purview of UCC and Forest Conservation Amendment Act.
Subsequently, Speaker Sharingain Longkumer informed that separate resolutions on both the issues will be brought for consideration on Tuesday.
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