Several groups protested in Manipur’s capital of Imphal on Tuesday, against the Centre’s Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The 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.
Women vendors gathered at Ima market under the banner of the Manipur People Against Citizenship Amendment Bill, a conglomerate of 64 organisations in the state, The Telegraph reported. Vendors of all four women’s markets in the city shut down their shops to protest against the bill. The group has called for a strike across the state starting midnight on Wednesday.
“The Northeast should not be turned into a dumping ground of illegal immigrants,” Sunil Karam, the president of United Committee Manipur, said. If not, the entire Northeast will raise a united voice against the government of India. All the northeastern states must have a clear stand against the bill.”
The Thangmeiband United Club organised sit-in protests in many parts of Thangmeiband area of Imphal West on Tuesday. The Film Forum Manipur organised a protest at Keishampat.
Protests in Assam
The Lakhimpur unit of the All Assam Students’ Union blocked National Highway-15 at Hatilung near North Lakhimpur town on Tuesday, The Sentinel reported. The organisation had earlier announced a blockade of national highways from 12 noon to 1 pm to protest against the Citizenship Bill.
“The Narendra Modi government has stirred communal politics in Assam and the Sarbananda Sonowal government wants to impose the bill forcefully only to stay in power, thus making a mockery of the democratic ideology of the nation,” Lakhimpur All India Students Union President Pulok Jyoti Borah and Secretary Dhanmoni Dutta said.
The students’ union also demonstrated against an attack on its members allegedly by Bharatiya Janata Party workers in Nalbari on Sunday. They burnt effigies of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
Local units of the students’ union also organised a protest at Pathshala in Barpeta district, where they blocked National Highway-31. The highway was also blocked at Sialmari in Chirang district.
Students blocked the Convoy Road in Dibrugarh. Hundreds of demonstrators blocked traffic on the NH-37 in Nagaon district, and at Gaurisagar Tiniali in Sivasagar district. The Golaghat Students’ Union organised a protest at Bata point in the town. The administration deployed security personnel to the area and imposed barricades for five hours.
The All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union organised a demonstration at Dulaijan in the district, and marched up to the railway station. “We demand the immediate scrapping of the bill,” the group’s Dulaijan president Ratna Thapa said. “If necessary, we will not hesitate to bring out khukri [a knife].”
The Dibrugarh unit president of the students’ union, Dipak Newar, asked Assamese people not to vote for the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections. “If the bill is passed, the indigenous people of Assam will lose their identity, literature, culture, linguistics and existence,” he said.