Citizenship Amendment Bill: Mizoram, Manipur and Assam Students Boycott Republic Day Celebrations, Burn Effigies of Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh
Students' bodies protesting against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Aizwal, Imphal and Guwahati on Wednesday. | Image Courtesy: Facebook

Aizwal, January 25: With the country all set to celebrate 70th Republic Day on Saturday, the north-eastern states are unhappy with the way the Union Home Ministry is handling the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and therefore students’ bodies in Mizoram, Assam and Manipur have declared that they would boycott the celebrations.

The students’ bodies – Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) and Young Mizo Association (YMA) – have made their statement clear by passing the resolution on Wednesday in the state capital of Mizoram, after thousands of students gathered to mark their protest against the controversial Bill. The students burnt the effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh too. Citizenship Amendment Bill Debate: Govt Committed Towards NRC But Can’t Give Citizenship to Illegal Migrants, Says Rajnath Singh in Lok Sabha.

Expressing their anguish against the Union government, MZP general secretary Lalnunmawia Pautu said, as reported by the Indian Express, “We had submitted a memorandum and made repeated demands to the central government to not pass the Bill, because it is extremely dangerous for people of Mizoram…If the pleas of the Mizos are constantly disregarded, then youths will have no other way than to pick up the gun… We might be compelled to pick up arms.”

Though newly-appointment Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga had made efforts to convince the students, nothing concrete is looking forward ahead of the state government. Mizoram’s powerful NGOs including students’ body MZP and YMA have made it very clear that they will continue their protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, ‘imposed’ by the Union government, as reported by the national daily.

Students' bodies protesting against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Aizwal and Guwahati on Wednesday. | Image Courtesy: Facebook
Students' bodies protesting against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Aizwal and Guwahati on Wednesday. | Image Courtesy: Facebook

Echoing similar opinion and to show solidarity with the students’ bodies, even Zoramthanga had threatened that MNF would withdraw its support to NDA if the situation arises. He also met the PM Modi and Singh along with his Manipur counterpart N Biren Singh in Delhi and expressed his dissatisfaction over the citizenship amendment bill. Zoramthanga also informed that the Mizoram Assembly had opposed to the changes of Citizenship Act.

In another action, four students – protesting against the citizenship amendment bill – were injured in Manipur’s capital on Wednesday after the security personnel used tear gas to restrict them from entering into the house of Rajya Sabha MP Bhabhananda Singh. All these students were protesting against the citizenship amendment bill. Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 Passed in Lok Sabha Amid Protest From Opposition.

Also in Assam, around 70 organisations including Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) protested against the citizenship amendment bill in Guwahati on Wednesday. Even Asom Gana Parishad withdrew its support from the NDA-led state government following the passage of citizenship amendment bill in Lok Sabha on January 8, 2019.

Under the new provisions of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the six identified minority communities – namely Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis – from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who came to India before 31 December 2014 would be facilitated. Also, the minimum residency period for citizenship is being reduced from the existing 12 years under the present law to seven years, after requisite scrutiny and recommendation of district authorities and the state government.