MANPAC rejects special clause, vows to sustain stir

IMPHAL, 5th Oct: Thanking the huge public participation in the October 3 protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in response to the call given by MANPAC and NEFIP, Manipur People Against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (MANPAC) has called upon all indigenous people of the state to sustain the agitation until their demands are achieved.
In a statement, MANPAC rejected the assurance of special clause to protect the indigenous people of northeast states while terming it as a lame excuse akin to persuading a child.
BJP in its election manifesto assured to protect the culture, identity and languages of the northeast people and yet several attempts are being made to assimilate the culture, identity and tradition of the state. Bringing in Bharat Mata alongside Bir Tikendrajit on Patriots’ Day; BR Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi alongside Hijam Irabot on Irabot Day are attempts to assimilate the identity and social values of Manipur, the statement said while calling upon all to understand such forces and stand united to fight against them.
Regarding the hiatus on its movement, the statement clarified that MANPAC did not rest its movement but took some time to galvanise support and strengthen unity among the indigenous communities across the region to sustain the movement in unison. As a result, North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP) was formed and the forum has been successful in mobilising the indigenous people and uniting the movement into a single one.
In the meantime, MANPAC along with NEFIP has been carrying out various activities including sensitisation programme, street corner meetings and others to create awareness on the issue among the general public.
The statement also expressed concern over the silence of the Centre on granting President’s assent to the Manipur People Bill 2018, which will provide the much needed protection to the endangered indigenous communities of the state. Even as the Bill passed by the BJP government adopts 1951 as the base year to identify non-locals, the same government is supporting CAB, which will grant citizenship to those illegal migrants who enter the country till December 31, 2014.
Such double standard nature of the government is highly condemnable, the statement said, while terming it as a policy of an oppressive government. MANPAC also cited abrogation of Article 370 and 35A in Jammu & Kashmir which it dubbed as the sunset of Indian Democracy. Cautioning that indigenous people of the state are riding a leaking boat and a single misstep could sink the boat, MANPAC called upon the people of the state to rise above parochial agenda and remain united against CAB. It also urged the elected representatives to stop misleading the public just to remain in the good books of the Centre. Once CAB is implemented, the fate of the MLAs’ families will be similar to those of the common people, it pointed out, while asking them to stand firm for the survival of the state and its people.
It then condemned the actions of police, who restricted students of some schools to come out of the school to participate in the October 3 protest and said that the government is trying to portray the movements of CSOs and public as anti-social or anti-national.
Expressing serious concern over the police action, the statement alleged the government of violating freedom of the public and the very principle of democracy as well.
MANPAC also condemned All India Radio Imphal for not carrying the state wide protest of October 3 in its news bulletin. However, it appreciated the print and electronic media of the state for covering the protest widely.

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