In a call given by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)], protest demonstrations were held across India against the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 (CAB) today, February 4. At the protest demonstration at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, Rajya Sabha MP Tapan Sen said, “There are various instruments that the BJP is using to do all it can to divide the country. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is just one of those efforts among others, such as Cow protection, etc.”
He further said that this is the politics of hate that needs to be rejected time and again, and therefore, there are protests happening across the country to reject BJP's communal agenda which is anti-national and anti-workers.
In Shimla, the CPI(M) staged a protest demonstration outside the District Commissioner’s office in view of the growing resentment and dissatisfaction in the North-Eastern states. The CPI(M) has urged the government not to take any further initiative in passing the bill which was passed in the Lok Sabha and is pending in Rajya Sabha.
Dr. Onkar Shad, state secretary of CPI(M) in Himachal Pradesh, said, “This bill violates the general basis of giving citizenship without discrimination in the name of caste, creed, gender, ethnicity, culture. Due to religion based identification as proposed by the Bill, there is a threat to unity in diversity.” They have urged all like-minded people to join the party’s movement against the CAB.
A bike rally in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was organised today by Manipuri Youth Front Association (MYFA), Silchar, Assam. The rally started from Bowaljur NH point and after passing through different areas of Silchar including Chirukandi, Berakhal, Tuko, Colony India club, Cachar College Point and Sadharghat Rongpur, concluded at Modhuraful.
A total of more than 100 bike riders took part in the rally which also witnessed the participation of representatives and members of All Assam Koch Rajbongshi Students’ Union (AAKRASU) and Nikhil Bishnupriya Manipuri Students Union (NBMSU). The participants at the bike rally were seen holding placards condemning the CAB while also chanting the slogan, “BJP Go Back!” amongst others.
Speaking about the event, president of MYFA, Seram Herajit stated that the indigenous peoples of the Barak Valley in Assam are Cachari Muslims, Manipuris, Bishnupriyas and the Dimasas while adding that the valley is not a dumping ground for Bangladeshi refugees. “If the present BJP government passes the CAB in parliament, then the public will fight tooth and nail against the implementation of the bill,” he added.
President of NBMSU, Rajib Sinha stated, “At a time when efforts to protect the indigenous people of Barak valley are proving hard, the passing of the CAB has raised apprehensions and fears that the total eradication of the indigenous people will surely ensure. So, we will fight till death if the Bill is passed.”
Several localities in Manipur, including Imphal, witnessed sit in protests against the Bill. Addressing the gathering at Thangmeiband today, Lujai from Dindaijang said that even the tribal communities have a great role in protecting the state against CAB. She also suggested the need to make each family aware about the issue.
Renowned filmmaker from Manipur, Aribam Syam Sharma has today returned his Padma Shri award which was given to him by the Government of India in 2006, as a mark of protest against the CAB.
Speaking to media at his residence at Thangmeiband, Imphal, the 83 years old eminent filmmaker said, “In a small state like Manipur where the population is less than the population of a district of Uttar Pradesh, the bill is a mere excuse to eradicate the indigenous people of the state.”
“Passing of such a bill in the Lok Sabha is one of the most provocative aggressions on the people of the northeastern states,” he added.
Asserting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind have made statements about passing the said bill in the Rajya Sabha, he said, “The appeal of the state government to insert a clause in the bill to protect the indigenous people of the state will be very hard to materialise.”
“It is very unfortunate that the government of Manipur is not opposing the said bill, when other northeastern states like Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram, which have a specific bill to prevent the influx of immigrants are protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Bill”, said the renowned filmmaker.
Speaking with NewsClick, Suprakash Talukdar, CPI(M) state committee member in Assam said, "Rallies are being held across the country, there is one in Guwahati as well. The message being sent out today is clear that there is absolutely no acceptance of the BJP's politics of hate. We believe that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is an attempt to target the stability in Northeast and to create unnecessary disturbance, in order to shift attention from the real issues of dissatisfaction that people have with the central government."