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Mon, 25 Mar 2019

Northeast Today

Manipur Stands Firm Against Cab

Manipur Stands Firm Against Cab
March 09
10:50 2019

The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 was passed on January 7 at Lok Sabha. The bill if passed will recognise or grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims illegal migrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan once the person has stayed in India for six years. Jeijei Newme reports from Manipur…

 

With the passing of the bill, there is a huge uproar across Northeast denouncing the passage for its possibility to change the demographics of the region and therefore demanding the withdrawal of the bill.

An all North-east bandh was imposed on January 9 lead by North East Students Organisation (NESO) for 11 hours against the bill and normal life was badly affected.

In Manipur too, under the banner of All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU), a constituent of NESO, political parties and CSOs, a series of protests and conventions were held in the state capital and elsewhere.

Almost every civil organisation, both big and small, political parties- powerful or not- hit the streets decrying that the bill is only a tool to suppress the indigenous people of the state (NE region) and that the foreigners should not be granted citizenship that easy.

Series of protests and conventions were held against the passage of the bill and discussing the future course of actions if the bill is passed. A signature campaign has been started recently by North East India Development Party (NEIDP) and has collected so far 50,000 signatures so far.

Altogether 64 civil society organisations from both the hills and the valley have also come together under one banner on January 28 called Manipur People Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (MPACAB) to press for withdrawal of the bill.

Among these 64 organisations include big organizational names such as United Committee Manipur (UCM), All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO), Manipur Muslim Welfare Organisation (MMWO), apex bodies of tribal organisations such as Zeliangrong Union (Assam, Manipur Nagaland), Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM), Indigenous Minority Organisation Manipur and so on.

In their bid to intensify their demands, the MPACAB has called a 24-hour state-wide bandh on January 31. A conglomerate of nine political parties have come together and extended their support for this bandh. The parties include Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India- Marxist [CPI (M)], RSP, AIFB, NCP, BSP, People Resurgence PRJA, JD(S) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) has also shown strong resentment in this bill and that has termed the bill as ‘unconstitutional’ and that it will have detrimental consequences in the future.

Six major student organisations, All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU), Manipuri Students’ Federation (MSF), Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur (DESAM), Kangleipak Students’ Association (KSA) and Students Union of Kangleipak (SUK) have also organized series of protests even tried to storm inside Rajya Sabha member of Parliament, Kshetrimayum Bhabananda, on January 25 demanding that he opposed the bill in the upcoming parliamentary budget session.

During the course, five students were hurt and hospitalised when police fired smoke bombs trying to disperse the agitating crowd.

Nation’s Republic Day, January 26, one of the most important days in the annual calendar of the nation, was also boycotted in the state, as a part of opposing the passage of the bill. The joint team of six student bodies and CSOs made up of UCM, AMUCO, Committee of Civil Societies Kangleipak (CCSK), Ethno-Heritage Council (HERICOUN) and League of Indigenous People Upliftment (LIPUL) also took part in the boycotting of Republic Day.

President of AMSU, Manjit Sarangthem, in a press conference before the Republic Day, has termed the Republic Day as a dark day for NE Region.

In Ukhrul district, TKS has called for a boycott of the Republic Day celebrations showing their resentment against the passing of CAB. Roads were blocked and demonstrators even burnt tyres at different points of Ukhrul headquarter.

Many have realised the need for unity and called for togetherness, to bury the differences and voice together as one for the withdrawal of the bill.

The state government, on the other hand, has said that it will do anything to protect the people, and have been reviewing the situation of the state from time to time. It has also pressed for presidential consent for Manipur People’s Bill, 2018 and to include a clause in CAB, for protection of the local people. Well, MPB sought to give protection of indigenous people of the state. This bill has been passed by the state assembly in the 2018 monsoon session.

Under the Citizenship Act, 1955, an applicant must have resided in India during the last 12 months and for 11 of the previous 14 years. But with this bill, it relaxes the 11-year requirement to six years for persons belonging to the same six religions of the three countries.

The bill was first introduced on July 19, 2016. It was then referred to a joint parliamentary committee on August 12, 2016, and the report was passed in Lok Sabha on January 7, 2019.

CAPTION LEAD IMAGE:Women hold protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Imphal on January 22, 2019

INSIDE IMAGE CAPTION: Students/ Women Vendors protest against CAB at Sanjenthong

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