A day after Manipur Peoples Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (MANPAC) announced an indefinite protest, Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Thursday urged the citizens not to resort to any action driven by sheer emotion.
Asserting that the Citizenship Bill would be applicable to the whole country, Singh said the government had asked the Centre to insert a clause in the Bill to protect indigenous people of the state. He further said the Manipur government had also sought Presidential assent to Manipur People Bill, 2018.
“The demand raised by the people to protect the indigenous population of the state, their identity and culture is genuine. However, it is questionable whether the demand is justifiable if it asks for the scrapping of a Bill meant for the entire country. Different states and regions have their own problems and issues,” the CM said.
Singh’s reaction comes a day after the MANPAC core committee announced a mass indefinite protest from Thursday against the Citizenship Bill, which has already been passed by the Lok Sabha. MANPAC is an umbrella group of over 70 civil society organisations in Manipur.
However, its effect was felt on Wednesday itself as protesters blocked several major roads in Imphal, resulting in huge traffic snarls for several hours. The road blockade, which started from around 11 am in the morning, led to inconveniences for commuters. Later in the evening, police dispersed the protesters.
The chief minister said only two major amendments were incorporated in the latest Bill and added that the people of Manipur required to properly study whether these changes would harm the state. He also assured the people that the government would never hesitate to act on behalf of the people if their objections had merit.
“As such, the matter should be pondered upon rationally before indulging in any emotionally-guided action,” he said while adding that the government was fully committed to bringing about a developmental change in the state.