Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has called a meeting of all political parties in the state on January 28 to discuss the Citizenship (Amendment Bill) even as protests against the legislation continued in the state. Singh’s media advisor Irengbam Arun on Thursday said the meeting would be held at the chief minister’s official residence in Imphal at 9 am on Sunday.
The Bharatiya Janata Party runs a coalition government in the state with the National People’s Party, the Naga People’s Front, and the Lok Janshakti Party.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 to grant citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from the Muslim-majority nations of Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan if they have lived in India for six years. Those who do not possess required documents are also eligible for citizenship, according to the bill.
The Rajya Sabha is expected to take up the bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, in the Budget session.
Residents of several Northeastern states have participated in agitations fearing that the bill will lead to an influx of new residents that will alter the demographic composition of the states.
The All Manipur United Clubs’ Organisation on Wednesday said it would launch “a series of agitation in collaboration with several North East-based organisations if the Bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha”, the Morung Express reported. The organisation said it was in contact with several outfits outside the state in connection with the planned protests.
Manipur People’s Party President O Jugindro had earlier said his party would oppose the bill tooth and nail, PTI reported. If the Bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha, it will reduce the population of indigenous people of the Northeastern states, including Manipur, to “microscopic minority”, he had claimed.
Former Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh had said on Monday that if the chief ministers of all the Northeastern states were to oppose the bill, the Centre would take their demands seriously.
Six student bodies leading the protests said a delegation of students would protest in New Delhi starting January 30, the Nagaland Post reported on Wednesday. The members of the Manipuri Students’ Association Delhi, the Delhi Association of Manipur Muslim Students and the United Kakching Students will participate in the agitation.