How many times have we heard people justifying “wrong words were used but intention was right”. This is permissible to some extent in private life situation but not in Public life. This is in context of solution provided by centre for resolving ethnic conflict in north east by giving autonomy to various leaders of ethnic communities based on locational and cultural aspect. Though horses for courses approach is going well at present but it is a temporary measure we all know this. The concern here is that we are using the wrong words in writing the solution by dividing the powers according to ethnic identities.
So what can be the solution? Though distributing powers among various leaders is the only solution in eyesight but using Dual citizenship can be the solution which will provide the same solution and also have the legitimacy of words used in the solution instead of ethnic decorum.
India is a union of states which means India as a union is not a result of consensus among states to join India like USA. So India has single citizenship unlike dual citizenship of USA. So in this case providing dual citizenship will require constitutional amendment which will require strong political Will.
Bright areas of providing dual citizenship
It will provide legitimacy to the various autonomous councils in the north east. It will make the solution formal and authentic in nature yet it will stay flexible like before in creating more autonomous regions. The administrative arrangements and boundaries will become clear and cross border blockade and strikes may come down. People will no more identify themselves with their language, religion and culture but will identify themselves with their citizenship which will also provide legitimate identification decorum.
India’s north J & K may also ask for dual citizenship. This will create favourable situation for separatists. This is not good for India as contextually J & K and northeastern states’ problems are different. But demanding sanity and rationality in political sphere is not workable all times. Second problem may arise that North eastern states may embrace dual citizenship concept to such an extent that they may start demanding secession from India.
Going for dual citizenship in northeastern states’ context is an ideal solution specifically for temporary measures being taken. But it seems that even centre government is aware that providing dual citizenship by constitutional amendment will require huge effort. So if effort is huge it should be long term. But still seeing the disturbing times, whole India should unite to mobilise political will and give best legitimate solutions to northeastern states no matter how huge the effort it takes.
Faculty, North East Institute of Advanced Studies