GUWAHATI: The Centre’s scrapping of Article 370 and 35A from Jammu and Kashmir has triggered an apprehension in some states of Northeast where the land and customary laws, among others, are protected by Articles 371A and 371G.
Opposition parties in Mizoram described the development as “red alert” for the people of Northeast.
Former Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla of the Congress tweeted, “Red alert to the people of NE. It has become a threat to states like Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal which are protected by the Constitution. If 35A and 370 are repealed, Article 371G which safeguards the interests and existence of lesser tribals of Mizoram is under severe threat”.
Congress spokesman, Lal Lianchunga, said the Mizos would strongly resist any move by the Government of India to repeal Article 371G from the state. “We are ready to sacrifice ourselves to protect our identity,” he asserted.
Former Nagaland Chief Minister SC Jamir said the scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir was in accordance with the BJP’s manifesto.
“What they are doing in Kashmir is according to their manifesto. It was in the manifesto of the BJP to do away with Article 370. But as far as Nagaland is concerned, it was a political agreement between Government of India and Naga People’s Convention as a result of which Nagaland attained statehood,” Jamir said, adding, “A gist of this is Article 371A. So, it cannot be compared with Article 370. Article 371A has got its own political sanctity”.
Condemning the Centre’s action, anti-corruption group-turned-political party People’s Right to Information and Development Implementation Society of Mizoram (PRISM) requested all indigenous communities of Northeast to prepare for the next move of Government of India. Its president Vanlalruata said the Mizos had the apprehension they could be the next target.
The Naga Hoho, which is the apex social organisation of the Nagas, was equally worried.
“We are worried as by withdrawing Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, the Government of India has undermined the minorities in India. I think this is undemocratic. We have the same apprehension in Nagaland. There is a political negotiation going on (between Naga rebel groups and the Centre). If the Government of India does the same thing in Nagaland, it is going to be detrimental,” Naga Hoho president Chuba Ozukum told this newspaper.
Nagaland is protected by Article 371A. It says no Act of Parliament in respect of religious or social practices of the Nagas, Naga customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law, ownership and transfer of land and its resources shall apply to Nagaland unless the state Assembly by a resolution so decides.
Similarly, Mizoram is protected by Article 371G. It says no Act of Parliament in respect of religious or social practices of the Mizos, Mizo customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Mizo customary law, ownership and transfer of land, shall apply to Mizoram unless the state Assembly by a resolution so decides.