File photo of people protesting against the Citizenship(Amendment) Bill, 2016

Kohima: Several indigenous groups of Nagaland, including the Joint Coordination Committee of Tribal Hohos, and civil organisations on Thursday expressed happiness at the response to the February 11 shutdown against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which they claimed had “saved” the face of the state government.

In a statement released by the committee it said that the state government should be thankful to the organisations which spearheaded the agitation against the bill for “saving its face and the destiny and the future of the people of the Northeast”.

Expressing “fullest appreciation” to the citizens of Nagaland for the peaceful conduct of the February 11 state-wide shutdown, it said the state’s people have “saved” the face of the state government.

The committee said it does not want to take pot-shots at any entity but as far as the bill was concerned, mere appeals without the backing of street protests and agitations in the Northeast region would have ensured the easy passage of the bill in the Rajya Sabha. Despite this “moral victory”, the committee, however, said it would continue to closely monitor the situation as “entrusted” and “mandated”.

The success of the bandh made it loud and clear to the northeastern states and the Centre that the Naga public totally opposed the bill, the committee said.

It was only because of public protests and mobilisation of people’s support in Manipur, Assam, Tripura, Mizoram, Nagaland, Arunachal and Meghalaya, after the spectre of revolt and secession in Assam and Mizoram had been raised, that “the most controversial bill in independent India” got stalled in the Rajya Sabha, the committee said.

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