Bells sounded as MANPAC kicks off anti-CAB crusade
IMPHAL, 3rd Oct: Registering a strong protest against the centre’s move to enforce the much-debated Citizenship Amendment Bill in the north east states including Manipur by passing the Bill in the Parliament, Manipur People against Citizenship Amendment Bill (MANPAC) has begun staging protest demonstration from Thursday as announced earlier.
The protest demonstration commenced with ringing of bells simultaneously by people from different walks of life. Women vendors of markets situated in different parts, students of schools and colleges and members of civil society organisations formed human chains and chanted slogans against the Bill which would permit illegal migrants from neighbouring countries to get Indian citizenship.
Women vendors of Khwairamband Keithel in ritual attire poured onto the street and created a human chain. Leaders of MANPAC and North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP) also took part in the protest demonstration during which slogans in condemnation of the Bill were raised. Tribal women and people present in and around the historic market at the time of the protest also participated in raising slogans.
Talking to media persons at the market, NEFIP president Ningthouja Lancha informed that people of the north east, whose existence and identity would be put in jeopardy, have started launching various forms of protest starting Thursday in tandem with the unanimous resolution passed by the apex body during a joint meeting convened in Kohima recently. He conveyed that rallies are being taken out in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Meghalaya and mass sit-in-protests staged in Mizoram whose indigenous people have been planning to protest the scheduled visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to the state on October 5.
Equating the assertion by the Union Home Minister during the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) Conclave held recently in Guwahati that CAB would be implemented in the north east as inappropriate and unbecoming of a national leader, he cautioned of taking up a slew of intense agitations by NEFIP along with frontal civil society organisations across the north east region which has been discriminated and victimised by the centre on many occasions.
Lancha maintained that CAB can’t be simply enforced in the north east without the consent of people region and approval of the respective state governments and expressed hope that Amit Shah who is also BJP national president would take the collective voice of north east people seriously.
Asking chief minister N Biren to stand by the people who voted for him and reposed faith in him, the NEFIP president appealed to the chief minister to take part in the proposed joint movement against the Bill in the national capital.
Asserting that the fate of the people in the north east would have to be decided by themselves as ancestral land, territorial integrity, survival and identity of indigenous people of the region would be at stake if CAB is implemented forcefully; he informed that foreign countries will be urged through the United Nations Organisation (UNO) to intervene against the ‘sinister’ move of the centre and ensure safeguard for all the indigenous communities of the region.
MANPAC convener Yumnamcha Dilipkumar asked the centre to retract its plan to enforce the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the north east; otherwise people of the region would be compelled to take strong resolutions to protect themselves from the influx and domination by illegal migrants.
He informed that students of different educational institutions, women vendors and shop owners would continue to stage various agitations and future course of action against the proposed implementation of the Bill will be announced by MANPAC from time to time.
Responding to MANPAC’s call for staging protest against the Centre’s move to enact the contentious CAB, civil societies and students’ organisations of Bishnupur and Jiribam districts also staged sit-ins and formed human chains to ring out the message that people of Manipur are totally opposed to any policy detrimental to interest of the indigenes.
Under the joint initiatives of MANPAC and students’ bodies such as AMSU, DESAM, MSF, KSA, SUK and AIMS; human chains were formed in Bishnupur district at Moirang Keithel, Ningthoukhong Keithel, Nambol Keithel and Bishnupur Keithel Bazar. Protest rallies were also carried out after formation of human chain.
The anti-CAB protests were participated by women activists, students and locals.
In Jiribam district, people staged sit-in-protest in front of Congress Bhawan.
During the protest organised by Jiribam units of MANPAC and NEFID, placards with slogans opposing the Centre’s bid to table the Bill in the upcoming session of Parliament, demanding withdrawal of CAB and seeking constitutional safeguards of the indigenous communities across the northeast region were displayed by the protesters. They also pledged unconditional support to any agitation initiated by MANPAC and NEFID against CAB.
In Thoubal district, the anti-CAB demonstrations were organised by MANPAC and like-minded organisations with the active participation of large number of students and women vendors. During the protests which were carried out in collaboration with AMSU, DESAM and MSF at several locations throughout the district, students from schools located along Imphal-Moreh Road in Thoubal district area and women vendors of Thoubal keithel blocked one side of roads and highways by forming human chain and shouted several slogans decrying CAB and its implementation.