Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh Wednesday has assured the people of Manipur that his government will protect the indigenous people of the state at any cost, citing the Manipur People’s Protection Bill, 2018.
Singh said that his government has been holding a series of meetings since Tuesday, taking into consideration people’s protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Northeast India.
“It is true that the country has a federal structure. However, the Centre cannot impose any policies which are unacceptable to the state government”, he said.
Underscoring the Manipur People’s Protection Bill, 2018, the Chief Minister said the government will stand by its people and the decision of the State Legislative Assembly.
The Manipur People’s Protection Bill, 2018 which was passed during the 5th session of the Manipur Legislative Assembly on July 23, 2018, seeks to regulate entry and exit of non-Manipuris from outside the state.
According to the Bill, non-Manipuris are classified as those who are not Meitei, Meitei-Pangal, Schedule tribes listed under the constitution and people who have been living in Manipur before 1951. They (non-Manipuris) are required to get a permit from the authority to enter the state.
N. Biren Singh said that the government would never disappoint its people by acting against their wishes and aspirations.
He said that a cabinet meeting would be convened on Thursday to discuss the prevailing situation and take a decision on the matter.
He further said that a Ministerial team would be sent to New Delhi to pressurise the Centre to give assent to the Manipur People’s Protection Bill, 2018 before the Citizenship Amendment Bill comes into force.
The Chief Minister recalled that the present government passed the Manipur People’s Protection Bill to preserve the rights and protect the indigenous people of the State, after considering the people’s sentiments.
He appealed to the people of the state not to have any apprehension with regards to the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
Reacting to Biren’s statement, senior Congress MLA and CWC member, Gaikhangam contended that the Manipur People’s Protection Bill would be rendered “useless” once the Citizenship Amendment Bill comes into effect.
Branding the Citizenship Bill as an “unconstitutional Bill”, Gaikhangam said the BJP had failed to realize the detrimental consequences of making regulations based on religious or communal lines.
“BJP should realize that Citizenship Bill would spell disaster not only for the Northeast but for the entire nation”, said Gaikhangam.
He appealed to all political parties in Manipur to join hands and fight for the future of the region.
Meanwhile, many have joined the bandwagon in voicing their opposition against Citizenship Amendment Bill which was passed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
The Manipur Peoples Party, left-wing Manipur, North East India Development Party (NEIDP), All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO), All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) among others, have demanded a clear stand from the Manipur Government.
Organizations strongly condemning the Bill have warned to take up extreme measures to protest against the Bill.