Protest against CAB continues; 36 hours total shutdown called in Manipur

By Phanjoubam Chingkheinganba

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All the main markets in Imphal town today remained closed as women vendors of Khwairamband Market, the largest women’s market in the world, rendered their full support to the on-going protest for withdrawal of Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016.

The women vendors also resolved to impose shutdown of the most important market of the state till February 11.

Nupi Keithel Sinpham and Saktam Kanba Lup Secretary Th (O) Rani Devi told media that the indigeneous population of north east region are facing extreme apprehension about being swallowed up by immigrants if the Bill is passed.

The controversial Bill was earlier passed on January 8 last at Lok Sabha and is expected to be presented at Rajya Sabha on February 12 for clearance.

However, series of protests have erupted due to the Bill as the indigenous populaces of the region maintain their identity will disappear in short period of time.

“We want written assurance on paper and not just verbal promises” said the woman leader expressing dissatisfaction that unlike other states of the region where both the state governments and the people have tied up to fight against the Bill, the state government has been doing not enough.

She said now “is the time for both the ruling and opposition parties to come up beyond their petty differences and fight to have the Bill withdrawn.”

Convenor Phundreimayum Abdullah of Manipur People Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (MANPAC), who was at the spot, also urged the masses to prepare to fight as the Bill may possibly pass at Rajya Sabha.

He also maintained the people have right to protest adding that a similar National Register of Citizens which was conducted in neighbouring Assam last year be conducted in the state so that illegal immigrants be identified and deported from the state.

Condemning the “racist policy” of the Centre, Abdullah linked the Bill to genocide the indigenous populace.

Meanwhile, student leader M Angamba of Democratic Students Alliance of Manipur (Manipur) called for the people to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections as elected legislators continue to remain silent at this critical juncture.

Other mode of protests which include burning of effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Chief Minister N Biren Singh by the locals and students were also witnessed at Tera locality in Imphal West district and at Yairipok in Thoubal district.

Police however arrived to disperse the protesters and put off the effigies.

Earlier, security forces also foiled attempt by locals to block one lane of NH-102 at Singjamei area in Imphal town.

Elsewhere, despite large scale deployment of security forces, locals at different pockets of the town at Khurai, Khongman and Thongju in Imphal East district blocked one lane of the road causing inconveniences to movement of vehicles.

Meanwhile, People’s Alliance Manipur (PAM) a conglomerate of different bodies have imposed “total shutdown” on all wake of lives from 5 am of February 11 to 5 pm of the next day.

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