The Nagaland Assembly on Monday voiced disagreement regarding the proposed Uniform Civil Code (UCC) and the implementation of the Forest Conservation (Amendment) Act.
The Nagaland Assembly adopted a resolution to exempt the state from UCC, with Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio showing optimism that the Centre would be in agreement with the state on this.
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 also said that a letter from the state government to the 22nd Law Committee has already been sent, requesting the exemption of the State from the UCC.
As per reports, the ruling party in Nagaland NDPP along with its ally BJP, NCP, NPP, LJP (Ram Vilas), Naga People’s Front (NPF), RPI (Athawale), JD(U), and Independents, engaged in discussions about seeking exemptions from UCC and implementing the forest conservation (amendment)act.
They also sought protection under the 16-Point Agreement and Article 371A.
NPF MLA Kuzholuzo Nienu said, “The 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 added.
Other saffron party members, including Nagaland BJP President, Minister Temjen Imna also came in support with the state on both issues.
This is not the first northeastern state to oppose UCC, including states like Meghalaya. This also comes as the tribal people in the region believe it is a threat to their ethnic culture and values.