Apprehensions of people regarding Citizenship Amendment Bill need to be removed, says Manipur’s CM

Chief Minister of Manipur N Biren Singh has appealed to the people not to panic over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 even as a 24-hour general strike has been called from Wednesday midnight demanding withdrawal of the bill.

According to the Press Trust of India, the CM said that the apprehensions of the people need to be removed first and the Centre will be urged not to let the bill impact the state.

The recently formed Manipur People Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (MPACAB), with representation from 66 organisations, has called the general strike demanding the controversial bill be withdrawn.

The chief minister said the government is trying to clear doubts regarding the Citizenship Bill from the minds of the people.

Biren Singh said he will be attending a meeting of chief ministers of all northeastern states “probably day after tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress slammed the government for indulging in “delay tactics” and reiterated that the bill must not be passed under any circumstance.

Former chief minister O Ibobi Singh told reporters that state legislators were not been able to take a firm stand on the bill unlike the Nagaland cabinet.

Recently, the General Secretary of Reformist Students’ Front, a students body in Manipur, which is protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, was picked by the police.

According to a statement of the Manipur Students’ Association, Delhi (MSAD), Amarjit Ningthouja was picked up from his home at Khngabok, Thoubal district.

Mizoram’s powerful NGOs including apex students’ body Mizo Zirlai Pawl MZP and Young Mizo Association (YMA) boycotted the Republic Day of India function.

“If the pleas of the Mizos are constantly disregarded, then youths will have no other way than to pick up the gun… We might be compelled to pick up arms,” said MZP general secretary Lalnunmawia Pautu.

MSAD extended their support to the boycott of Republic Day of India function in Manipur.

Recently, five students were injured in Manipur after the police fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators heading towards Rajya Sabha MP, Kshetrimayum Bhabananda Singh’s house, in Imphal.

The protestors were demanding that the MP oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, in the parliament.

Two student groups tried to storm the MP’s residence. The five students who fainted belonged to the first group, comprising the All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU), Manipur Students’ Federation, Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur, Kangleipak Students’ Association, Students’ Union of Kangleipak and the Apunba Irreipakki Maheirosing Singpanglup, according to the North East Today.

On Thursday, thousands of youngsters in Mizoram hit the streets in various towns of the state to protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

Many of them held banners that read, “Hello China, Bye Bye India”.

The bill has been criticised for being communal and being used by BJP to settle Hindus from neighbouring countries in the border regions at the cost of the natives.

The bill, seeks to grant citizenship to Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Christian, Parsi and Jain migrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan if they have lived in India for six years.

The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha earlier this month, and is likely to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha during its next sitting, scheduled to begin from January 30.

Recently, Amit Shah, BJP President, while accusing the Trinamool Congress of “misleading” people on the National Register of Citizens (NRC), said that Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh refugees in the state ‘need not be afraid’ because the Bill has been brought to grant them citizenship.

Speaking at a rally in Malda, Shah said, “We have brought the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to grant citizenship to each and every Hindu Bangladeshi.”

Recently, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that if the Citizen (Amendment) Bill 2016 is not passed, it will be a surrender to the ‘philosophy of Jinnah‘.

Sarma also added that the purpose of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was to “detect Jinnahs”.

In the north-eastern state of Assam, India has published a list which strips four million people of their citizenship. It says the process is to root out hordes of illegal Bangladeshi migrants.

The list, named as the National Register of Citizens (NRC), is a list of people who can prove they came to the state by 24 March 1971, when Bangladesh was created.

The list has sparked fears of targeted hunting towards ethnic minorities in Assam. However, officials have said that no one will face immediate deportation and that the option of an appeal will be available to all.

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