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Naga activist fights for right to Indian citizenship

On March 10 the Delhi High Court issued notice related to a court case to restore Luingam Luithui and his wife Peingamla Luithui as Indian citizens.

The notice issued was addressed to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian High Commission at Ottawa in Canada. In the four weeks that the Delhi High Court has given the ministries to respond, they will have to argue whether citizenship can be granted to the activist and justify the stand on citizenship rules and may also face questions of why Luingam Luithui was not granted a visa despite the fact that a “look-out circular” in his name had been withdrawn in 2011.

The High Court issued the notice following a written petition filed by Luingam, his wife Peingamla, and members of the immediate family and clan, demanding the full restoration of the citizenship rights of Mr. Luithui and his wife who are originally from Ukhrul district of Manipur. Luingam Luithui is one of the founders of the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR). He is also a co-founder of the Asia Indigenous Peoples' Pact (AIPP) and was its first Secretary General for two terms, from 1992 to 2000. During that time he worked in the AIPP Secretariat in Thailand. The Indian Government accused him of being a supporter of the militant Naga resistance group NSCN (Isak-Muivah). While attending a meeting in Canada and applying for additional pages to his passport at the Indian High Commission in Ottawa, Luithui's passport was impounded without explanation. A little earlier the same year, the Indian government refused to issue a new passport to his wife Peingamla, whose passport was stolen in Bangkok. Thus, the Indian government made them stateless and forced them to apply for asylum in Canada. They have lived in Canada as refugees for over a decade before becoming citizens there.

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