Street protests, rallies continue against CAB
IMPHAL, 7th Feb: Amid assurances from different parties to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 and speculations of BJP tabling it in Rajya Sabha on February 12, protests demanding withdrawal of the Bill continued to grow in the state with people in different localities organising sit-in protests, road blockades and torch rallies.
In pursuance of the same demand, Manipuri digital film actor RK Kaiku (Somorendro), who is planning to contest in the upcoming Lok Sabha election from Inner Manipur Parliamentary constituency, and members of Thangmeiband United Club (TUC) blocked one side of the main road near Thangmeiband Meisnam Leikai and launched a relay hunger strike from Thursday onwards.
Speaking to newspersons on the sidelines of the protest, TUC vice president Pratap Leishangthem informed that the relay hunger strike would be staged till the end of the parliament session on February 12 and TUC will not show any respect to leaders/elected representatives from outside.
“If the parliament passes the CAB 2016, then TUC along with Manipur Peoples Against CAB (MANPAC) will launch various intense agitations and are even ready to lay down our lives for the state”, he remarked. Strongly condemning the passing of CAB 2016 by the Lok Sabha on January 8, Pratap said that move is to completely annihilate the NE indigenes who are already facing the brunt of influx of illegal migrants and outsiders.
It would be best for the BJP government both at the centre and in the state to backtrack and think over the issue if it wants to prevent escalation of unprecedented people’s movement in the NE region, he cautioned.
Meanwhile, protesters blocked Imphal Moreh road by staging sit-ins in the middle of the road at different localities. Police used tear gas shells and smoke bombs to disperse the protesters at Kakwa Keithel. A woman protester was rushed to Raj Medicity after she lost consciousness during the tussle with police.
Protesters also blocked road at Singjamei Parking despite police restrictions. Later, police allowed movement of traffic, which resulted in protesters burning a hoarding of Prime Minister Narendra Modi erected nearby.
Local residents and students of Royal Academy of Advance Learning also staged protest on the road at Laxmi Keithel along Mayai Lambi. Sarit Sarak Association Manipur also staged protest at Khundrakpam while students of Khundrakpam Public School formed human chain to register protest against the Bill.
Protests at Naoremthong Laishram Leirak and Uripok Gopalji Leirak affected normal traffic. Police later cleared the road to allow free traffic movement. Similar protests were also held at Wangkhei Meihoupham Lampak, Kakhulong, Namdunlong, Uripok Khwairak Selungba Leirak, Mayang Imphal, Lamboikhul and Konthoujam Kangjeibung.
Protesters also demonstrated in the middle of the road at Yaiskul Chingakham Leirak, Moirangkhom Keithel, Moirangkhom Loklaobung, Singjamei Thokchom Leikai, Chingamathak, Chongtham Leikai, Waikhom Leikai, Mayengbam Leikai, Kakwa Lamdaibung, Naorem Leikai, etc.
In most areas, normal traffic movement was affected till 4 pm.
Meira Paibi members and local youths of Keishamthong Thangjam Leirak and Malom also carried out torch rally in the evening.
CPI Manipur State Council assistant secretary M Joykumar and All Manipur Nupi Marup president M Sakhi spoke as resource persons during a protest held at Kangmong. Later, local residents and students of Kangmong Learners Academy formed human chain and took out a rally against CAB.
Protests in the forms of sit-ins, human chain formations and rallies were also held at Sunushiphai market shed, Thoubal Keithel and in different parts of the state.