Police use smoke bombs to foil CAB protest

IMPHAL, 16th Jan: Members of Manipur Muslim Welfare Organisation (MMWO) organised a protest against passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (CAB) in front of their office at Hatta here and tried to burn an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. However, the bid to torch the effigy was thwarted and the protest demonstration cut short as the police resorted to unleashing smoke bombs.
Addressing a press conference at MMWO office before the agitation, MMWO president Abdulla Phundreimayum condemned the action of the BJP government in forcing its way to ensure passing of CAB and said that it is a step to dilute the identity and culture of indigenes of the region and turn it into Hindu states. If the CAB is forcefully enforced then they are ready to die opposing the Bill, he claimed.
Condemning the Bill, Abdulla asserted that the Bill should not be passed in the Rajya Sabha, and the people of Northeast will never accept the Bill which aims to change the demography of the region. The Bill is nothing but to subdue the small indigenous population of the region and as such MMWO will oppose its implementation under all circumstances, he added.
He recalled that on January 15, MMWO members went to meet the Governor but were stopped midway by the police. Though organisation members tried to negotiate with the police to allow them march up to the gate of Raj Bhavan the police started firing tear gas and smoke bombs towards them and also assaulted the activists, which resulted in 9 MMWO members suffering injuries, he recounted. The police action has also resulted in breaking an arm of one student of CC higher Secondary School. The organisation strongly condemned such brutal action of the police, he maintained.
Abdulla further insisted that the state and Union government should know that MMWO, All Manipur Muslim Development Committee (AMMDC) and youths of the state are not afraid to get injured or even sacrifice their life for the cause.
Although the organisation commends the statement given by chief minister N Biren on January 15 to the women folk and student that he will support people’s agitation against the Bill if the need arises, it will be better if he and other MLAs follow what the CM and MLAs of Meghalaya and Assam are doing.
Public do not just want hallow speeches but action, they should resolve to resign from BJP or take any other concrete step if the Bill is implemented in the Northeast. Political parties should stop mudslinging against each other but unite in opposing the Bill. Then only the Bill could be stopped from being passed in the Rajya Sabha. CSOs of the state should also come together and take a unanimous resolution against the Bill. It is time for everyone to stand against the Bill, he said.
After the press meet, MMWO activists tried to burn an effigy of PM Narendra Modi in front of their office at Hatta but the effigy was snatched by some police personnel in civil dress which resulted in a brief scuffle between them. After the effigy was taken away by the police, the angry members shouted slogans and protested on the road but they were dispersed by the police with firing of smoke bombs.
Meanwhile, women vendors of Khurai Lamlong Keithel area under the aegis of Lamlong Keithel Apunba Nupi Lup organised a sit-in protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on Wednesday at the market area.
The protesters termed the bill as a threat to the indigenous people of the state and demanded a firm stand of the state government against the bill. They also offered support to the movement against the bill. Shops and business centres in Lamlong Keithel area remained close during the protest.

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