Anti-CAA protests in Assam and Tripura


10:10 AM

1 min read

What’s in today’s article?

  • Inner Line system
  • Sixth Schedule of the Constitution
  • ILP, Sixth schedule and CAA
  • Why are Assam, Tripura against CAA?

Why in news?

After the recent announcement of rules for the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA, there are loud voices of dissent against it, but this time only in Assam and Tripura (The passage of CAA had caused unrest in the Northeast in 2019). The reason is that most parts of the Northeast, except for large areas of Assam and Tripura, have been excluded from the CAA.

However, the Act specifies that these provisions do not apply to: the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, or Tripura as included in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, and the areas covered under 'The Inner Line' notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

Inner Line system

  • About
    • An Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime is operational in the four Northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur.
    • ILP is a special permit that residents of other parts of India need to apply for and receive, in order to enter and spend any duration of time in these states.
  • Background
    • The British introduced the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 for tribal hill areas, aiming to protect the indigenous population by preventing the settlement of other Indian nationals.
    • This system continued after Independence and was implemented in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Mizoram.
    • Manipur was included in January 2020 due to protests following the enactment of the CAA.

Sixth Schedule

  • About
    • Sixth Schedule gives tribal communities of NE states considerable autonomy within a larger administrative or political structure.
      • It was adopted under Article 244 (2) of the Constitution.
    • This schedule deals with the provisions for formation of autonomous administrative divisions within a state.
  • Current status
    • Sixth Schedule of Indian Constitution provides a list of ten tribal areas in Assam (3), Meghalaya (3), Tripura (1) and Mizoram (3).
    • Each of these tribal areas constitutes an autonomous district. Each autonomous district has an Autonomous District Council (ADC).
  • Inclusion under sixth schedule
    • Inclusion under this Schedule allows a region to create Autonomous District and Regional Councils (ADCs and ARCs) — elected bodies with the power to administrate tribal areas.
    • This would include the power to make laws on subjects such as forest management, agriculture, administration of villages and towns, inheritance, marriage, divorce and social customs.
    • The ADCs and ARCs may also:
      • constitute village councils or courts to decide disputes between parties from Scheduled Tribes, and
      • appoint officers to oversee the administration of the laws they enact.
    • In cases where the offences are punishable with death or more than five years of imprisonment, the Governor of the state can confer upon the ADCs and ARCs the power to try them under the country’s criminal and civil laws.
    • The Schedule also gives ARCs and ADCs the power to
      • collect land revenue, impose taxes, regulate money lending & trading,
      • collect royalties from licences or leases for the extraction of minerals in their areas, and
      • Establish public facilities such as schools, markets, and roads.

ILP, Sixth schedule and CAA

  • Of the seven sisters in the Northeast, Mizoram is already outside the CAA ambit as the ILP is operational there.
  • All of Meghalaya, barring a small part around Shillong, comes under three different ADCs — one each for the Khasi, Garo and Jaintia hills.
    • Despite most of Meghalaya coming under the Sixth Schedule, there is still some discontent among groups. These groups are against the implementation of the CAA in areas not under the Sixth Schedule.
    • Already, the Meghalaya government is pushing for the implementation of an ILP regime across the state, which would make the CAA redundant.
  • Assam has three ADCs under the Sixth Schedule:
    • Bodoland Territorial Council that covers five districts;
    • North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council that covers one district; and
    • Karbi-Anglong Autonomous District Council that covers two districts.
  • Similarly, Tripura has the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council.

Why are Assam, Tripura against CAA?

  • Boundary with the Bangladesh and most of the region does not come under either the Sixth Schedule or the ILP regime
    • Assam shares a 263-km border with Bangladesh while Tripura has a 856-km border with Bangladesh.
    • Most of the Assam and Tripura do not come under either the Sixth Schedule or the ILP regime.
    • And that is why there’s unrest in these areas against the CAA.
  • Strong anti-immigrant sentiment
    • Both states have strong anti-immigrant feelings because they share long, open borders with Bangladesh.
    • Also, they have experienced a continuous flow of refugees from the neighbouring country since the days of East Pakistan.
    • There are no official records of these migrations, whether large-scale ones during significant events like India's Independence and Partition in 1947 or the creation of Bangladesh in 1971, nor of the ongoing smaller movements.
    • While some of these migrants are Muslim, most are believed to be Bengali-speaking Hindus.
  • Worried over rising number of Bengali speakers
    • CAA does not include Muslim refugees or migrants, focusing instead on legitimizing Hindu refugees.
    • This has angered Assamese ethno-nationalists and Tripuri tribals who are worried about the growing number of Bengali speakers.
  • Separating CAA from NRC Raises Concerns
    • The government is now saying that the CAA will not be connected to the National Register of Citizens (NRC)— to weed out illegal immigrants, which was originally conceived for, and only implemented in Assam, but remains stalled.
    • This change worries many in Assam because they feel the CAA undermines their main beliefs and political platform. Tripura faces similar concerns.