NE People Call For Withdrawal of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

DEMONSTRATIONS and rallies were held across the North-east including Mizoram and Tripura on Tuesday against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 pending in the Rajya Sabha for passage. The bill which has been approved by the Lok Sabha seeks to amend a 1955 legislation to grant citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Buddhists, Jain Sikhs and Christians who are compelled to leave Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.NE people are afraid for changing their demographic profile and losing identity if the bill is passed. In Manipur, the authorities imposed indefinite curfew in Imphal East and Imphal West districts in view of the continued protests against the bill. In MNF-ruled Mizoram, the powerful NGO Coordination Committee organised demonstrations in Aizawl and seven other district headquarters to protest against the controversial Bill. Thousands of people took part in these rallies holding placards and black flags. Placards like ‘Welcome Independent Republic of Mizoram’, ‘Hello New Christian Country’, and ‘Welcome Independence’ were seen in the Christian dominated state. Former Mizoram Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla, joined the protest in Aizawl and was seen holding a ‘Hello Independent Republic of Mizoram’. Leaders of all the constituent organisations delivered speeches during the protest rally. Protest rallies were also held in BJP-ruled Tripura over the same issue. However, no untoward incidents were reported from any of part of the north-eastern states. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC were imposed last night in two Manipur districts. The administration clamped curfew in Imphal as a pre-emptive move to maintain the situation. However, people defied curfew and staged protests against the Bill. The administration also suspended mobile internet services, while security has been strengthened in the residences of MLAs and ministers, including that of Chief Minister N Biren Singh, officials said. In Aizawl, NGO Coordination Committee chairman Vanlalruata said that despite the protest from almost all political parties and NGOs in the entire north-eastern region and other parts of the country. The Congress is  backing the MACAB, and other tribal-based parties, including Tripura BJP’s ally IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura) as also regional political parties, NGOs and civil society groups.

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