CAB rage continues, intensify stir call given
IMPHAL, 15th Jan: A brief clash between police and student protester erupted here on Tuesday as students of different schools in Imphal city area along with women vendors of Khwairamband Keithel and two Muslim organisations carried out protest rallies against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
Demanding withdrawal of the Bill, different organisations cautioned the government of the possibility of raising the demand for political autonomy of northeast region if the bill is not revoked even as six student organisations gave clarion call to intensify the public movement in denunciation of the Centre's move to enact the Bill.
Students of different government higher secondary schools gathered at Johnstone Higher Secondary School on Tuesday morning and started a protest rally. Police prevented them from marching towards the CM’s bungalow and forced them to take the Wahengbam Leikai road. On reaching Shamu Makhong area, women vendors of Khwairamband Keithel joined the students only to be stopped by police. However, they breached the police barrier and moveed ahead up to Johnstone school gate.
As they tried to continue the rally towards CM’s bungalow, police used tear gas shells to disperse the protesters. Police then chased away the protesters after the latter started pelting stones towards them. However, they regrouped under the BT Flyover and shouted slogans against CAB and BJP.
Later, police allowed some representatives of women vendors and students to meet the CM. After the meeting, one of the students of Johnstone Higher Secondary School related to media persons that the CM took some time to answer their questions regarding the government’s stand over CAB and told them that he will participate in the movement if the need arises and added that the government cannot stay without the people’s support.
On the other hand, Manipur Muslim Welfare Organisation (MMWO) and All Manipur Muslim Development Committee (AMMDC) also organised a rally from Hatta towards Raj Bhavan. Police stopped them before crossing Sanjenthong. Amid the stand-off, students of CC Higher Secondary School joined the protest and tried to overpower the police.
Following a brief tussle, police used tear gas shells and dispersed the protesters, most of whom ran inside CC Hr Sec School campus and started pelting stones towards police. Later, SP Imphal East came to the spot and pacified the protesters.
At least 10 protesters were rushed to hospital after they lost consciousness or sustained injuries during the protest.
Speaking to media persons, MMWO president Abdulla Phundreimayum contended that the NDA government is trying to decimate the small indigenous communities of the state and convert Manipur into a Hindu state and as a vote bank. He also said that the indigenous people of the state could possibly start demanding political autonomy if the Centre does not revoke the bill.
A sit-in-protest was also staged at Palace Compound against CAB under the aegis of Committee of Civil Society Kangleipak (CCSK). Speaking during the protest, CCSK president Jeetendra Ningomba highlighted how the people of the state organised protests demanding a legislation to safeguard the indigenous communities of the state. Passing of CAB by the Lok Sabha even as the state government is waiting for the President’s assent to the MPP Bill is nothing but a complete lack of concern for the indigenous people of Manipur and northeast.
Unless the Centre revokes the Bill, indigenous population of the northeast region might come up with the demand of political autonomy for the region, he cautioned.
Giving a clarion call to all sections of the society for launching different modes of intense agitation till the Union government withdraws the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, functionaries of six student organisations categorically asked political organisations in the state to declare their definite stand on the Bill issue.
Speaking to newspersons at the Kwakeithel office of AIMS Tuesday, AMSU president Manjit Sarangthem called upon the people to stage protest demonstrations in their respective localities so as to drive home the message to the state and central governments that people of Manipur will not tolerate any decisions which are detrimental to the interest of the indigenous communities settling in the state and other northeast region.
While stating that role and activities of local youth and women’s organisations will be decisive in ensuring safety of all the indigenes in the aftermath of the Union government taking the unilateral decision to bring in foreign nationals and its hidden agenda to facilitate their settlement through grant of citizenship, he informed that a public convention will be held on January 20 to discuss further course of agitation.
Seeking participation of all concerned in the said convention in order to take a resolute stand for nullifying the Centre’s alleged intention to engineer drastic demographic changes in entire northeast region, Manjit cautioned that once enacted the Bill will imminently make all the native people extinct from their own place of birth.
Outrage and continuous protests against the Bill across the region testify that the Union government has acted against the will and aspiration of the people, he said and affirmed that student organisations - AMSU, DESAM, MSF, AIMS, SUK and KSA will not rest till the Centre realises that the proposed legislation is not acceptable to the people and withdraws the same.
Manjit also alleged that successive Union governments have been devising to decimate the native people of the NE states through various means for the past many decades and held leaders of political parties active in the state responsible for abetting the problem.
Though the masses have been launching various forms of agitation whenever the Centre takes decisions which the indigenes do not subscribe to, political leaders merely pretend to back the people’s movement though their ultimate objective is to draw political mileage out of such issues, the AMSU president denounced and cautioned that politicians will pay a heavy price for stoking public sentiments.
Reacting to social media comments by ABVP functionaries that the citizenship bill will not affect the NE states and its people, he contended that the students’ wing of the ruling BJP is plotting to both divert public attention and project the mass movement in poor light.
While stating that AVBP’s stand is strongly condemned by the six student organisations, he also suggested that frontal bodies of political parties including AVBP, NSUI and AISF join hands in upholding rights and interests of the indigenes before their partisan stand gets exposed and public wrath fall upon organisations that work for furthering political agendas.
With regard to the state government’s endeavour for getting the Presidential assent to the Manipur People’s Protection Bill, Manjit reminded that the legislation proposed by the state will be rendered toothless once the CAB gets implemented.
He also sought the support and participation of state’s intellectual community, artistes and sportspersons in the on-going movement before it is too late.
Joining the media briefing, DESAM vice-president N Edison appealed to organisations at the locality level to launch agitation in their respective areas to exert pressure for withdrawal of the Bill.
Lashing out at the political leaders for their alleged failure to take a definite stand on the Bill issue, he cautioned that any attempt to play with the public sentiment will backfire and turn disastrous.
According to AIMS advisor Longjam Abothe Meitei, people of Manipur have been suffering from different forms of atrocious policies of the Union government ever since the erstwhile kingdom was annexed to the Indian union.
Though the people have been agitating on one issue or the other which are detrimental to the interest of the state and its people it is lamentable that the masses continue to suffer as no solution could be brought to their grievances, he said.
Move to implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 is not only outrageous but also testifies that the Central government is not concerned with the safety and future of the NE citizens, Abothe noted and called upon all sections of the society to join hands with the six student organisations in opposing the Centre’s move to supplant the NE natives with adopted citizens.