Manipur government in a cabinet meeting held Thursday resolved to urge the Centre to exempt Manipur from the jurisdiction of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), passed by the Lok Sabha last Tuesday. The meeting also further decided to urge the Centre to give assent to the Manipur People’s Protection (MPP) Bill, 2018.
The cabinet meeting was specifically convened to review the situation arising out of the passage of the CAB in the Lok Sabha. The meeting was chaired by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh.
A statement issued by the Chief Minister’s office said, the Cabinet taking note of the population of Manipur, which is only about 0.2 per cent of India’s total population with a large number of ethnic groups, has deemed necessary for adequate constitutional protection to protect these small indigenous population.
Accordingly, the passage of the Manipur People’s Protection Bill (MPP) by the state assembly in order to protect the interest of the people of the state, has restored the confidence of the people of Manipur, it said.
The MPP Bill has since been moved to the President of India for his assent.
Considering the apprehension in the minds of the people that the Citizenship Amendment Bill will not be in the interest of the state’s indigenous people, the cabinet has taken a decision to urge the Centre to give assent to the MPP and also exclude Manipur from the purview of Citizenship Bill, said the statement.
The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), however, has demanded the BJP-led government in Manipur to convene an immediate assembly session to take a decision on the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill.
“The people of Manipur and the Congress party want to know whether the Citizenship Amendment Bill will override the Manipur Peoples Protection Bill or not? We want to know if the future of our State is at stake or not?” questioned Okram Ibobi, former Chief Minister of Manipur.
Ibobi continued that the future of the indigenous people of entire northeast will be at stake once this “unconstitutional bill” is being passed. He called on all the political parties of Manipur to come together and hammer out a solution in the interest of the people, citing the decision of neighbouring states to oppose the bill.
“It is not the time for political parties to engage in mud-slinging but rather join hands to find a solution in the interest of the state, we have no issue working with the BJP if it is for the interest of the state and its people,” he added.