Citizens and Denizens

Sanjib Baruah

in Durable Disorder

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780195690828
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081769 | DOI:
Citizens and Denizens

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In Meghalaya as well as in the states of Mizoram, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh, non-tribals are considered denizens. This protective discrimination regime dates back to colonial times when policy instruments were used to protect vulnerable aboriginal peoples living in isolated enclaves. In recent years, Northeast India has witnessed internal displacements caused by violent ethno-national conflicts. This chapter describes an unfolding crisis of citizenship resulting from the tension between the politics of ethnic homelands and the logic of the political economy of Northeast India. It examines the historical conditions and institutional context in which some of the typical ethno-political conflicts of the region take place, and why these conflicts have triggered episodes of ethnic violence and internal displacement. The author concludes by discussing how erstwhile ethnic subjects can become full fledged citizens, and how the descendents of immigrants should not have to remain as perpetual ‘outsiders’ in Assam. Dual citizenship could be one answer.

Keywords: Northeast India; ethnic violence; denizens; dual citizenship; internal displacement; ethnic homelands; perpetual outsiders; political economy; protective discrimination

Chapter.  10596 words. 

Subjects: Indian Politics

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