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Citizenship Bill: Civil, student bodies in Manipur to boycott Republic Day celebrations

Against the backdrop, the government has decided to urge the Centre for implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Manipur as had been done in Assam, to allay the fears in the mind of the people.

Written by Jimmy Leivon | Imphal |
Updated: January 25, 2019 10:47:24 pm
Several groups in Manipur have been organizing rallies and sit-in demonstrations across the state demanding the withdrawal of the Bill.

Major civil society organizations and student bodies in Manipur on Friday announced to boycott the Republic Day celebrations to express their resentment against the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019. These groups have been organizing rallies and sit-in demonstrations across the state demanding the withdrawal of the Bill.

Against the backdrop, the government has decided to urge the Centre for implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Manipur as had been done in Assam, to allay the fears in the mind of the people.

The decision was taken during a review meeting of Ministers and MLAs chaired by Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Friday to discuss the prevailing situation in the state in the aftermath of passing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 by the Lok Sabha recently.

According to an official source, the meeting, after a discussion also resolved to urge the Central Government to include a proviso in the body of the bill or the rules to be framed thereunder to the effect that the consent of the State Government will be required before granting citizenship to any person.

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It also resolved to urge the Centre for giving Presidential assent to the Manipur People Bill, 2018 at the earliest.

Further, the meeting also decided to organise awareness programmes through Government functionaries in order to accurately inform and sensitize the people on the content of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 and its impact on the State of Manipur.

The meeting also appreciated the statement of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for its assurance that without the state government’s recommendation, no one would be given Indian citizenship.

The United Committee Manipur (UCM), All Manipur United Clubs’ Organisation (AMUCO), Committee of Civil Society Kangleipak (CCSK), Ethno Heritage Council (HERICOUN) and League of Indigenous People Upliftment (LIPU), in a joint press conference convened on Friday appealed to the people to organise protest rallies in the localities on the Republic Day with slogans “Withdraw the citizenship bill” and “We condemn India’s Republic Day celebration in Manipur and North East.

Speaking on behalf of the CSOs groups, Sunil Karam president of UCM, said the passing of the bill in Lok Sabha on January 8 has created social unrest in Manipur and North East region.

“Despite vehement opposition by the People of the region the bill was passed. The bill should be withdrawn immediately,” Karam demanded.

“The government of India has been constantly plotting many with the intention to wipe out the indigenous people of the North East through several policies. The passing of the bill is one such policy. We denounce such Bill and therefore we boycott the Republic Day celebration in Manipur and in the North East region,” said Karam.

He informed that a convention of all the civil bodies would be organised on January 28 to form a united forum and decides the future course of action to be taken up in demanding the withdrawal of the citizenship bill.

“As the voice of the people is being ignored, India is no more a republic. There is no point in celebrating the Republic Day in the North East,” said S Rajendrakumar, vice- president of League of Indigenous Peoples’ Upliftment.

Six student bodies namely All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU), Manipur Students’ Federation, Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur (DESAM), Kangleipak Students’ Association (KSA), Students’ Union of Kangleipak (SUK) and Apunba Ireipakki Maheirosing Singpanglup (AIMS), also decided to boycott the Republic Day celebrations.

President of AMSU Manjit Sarangthem said, “Tomorrow is Republic Day for India but for us, it is Dark Day.”

The AMSU president has appealed to the students, government departments and all sections of the society not to participate in the celebrations. “We will give room for compromising until and unless the bill is withdrawn,” he warned.

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