Biren Singh declares his govt’s resolute stand against CAB as protests continue

Correspondent IMPHAL, JAN 16 | Publish Date: 1/16/2019 12:28:54 PM IST

Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh on Wednesday declared his government’s resolute stand against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 – CAB – without a clause to protect smaller communities.

He asserted that until and unless a clause to protect smaller communities, particularly indigenous people of Northeast, including Manipur, was included in the Bill and President of India have his assent to the Manipur People’s Protection Bill, 2018, his government would continue to oppose the controversial Bill.

“Our stand (on the Bill) is very clear. We will be against the Bill until and unless a clause exempting Manipur from the purview of the Bill is included and President of India gives his assent to the Manipur People’s Protection Bill,” he added. The chief minister was talking to reporters during his visit to Chandel district headquarters where he inaugurated a newly-constructed women’s market and also laid foundation stones for some other projects. He said, “We have been pressing the Centre to consider interests of the people of the North-eastern States while drafting or passing any Bill by the Parliament.” 

The Centre must always consider protection of smaller groups of people of the region while drafting such Bill, he added.

Mentioning that the Bill had been passed by Lok Sabha and introduced in Rajya Sabha, Singh explained that even if Rajya Sabha passed it, the Centre would have to make rules and regulations before enacting it. And if the Centre considered passing the Bill in Rajya Sabha necessary, he demanded that a clause exempting Manipur and other North-eastern State must be included before passing it. The Centre must also take necessary steps to give President’s assent to the Manipur People’s Protection Bill, 2018 that the Manipur Legislative Assembly had passed to fulfil the popular demand for protection of indigenous people of the State, he said.

The chief minister reiterated that unless the Centre fulfilled the demands, his government would oppose CAB and was even ready to face any consequence arising out of it.

Meanwhile, the chief minister’s announcement of his resolute stand came at a time when there are already protests going on in Manipur against CAB. On Wednesday too, protests were held in various parts of the State. 

The protests were in response to appeal made by six student bodies – AMSU, MSF, DESAM, SUK, KSA and AIMS – spearheading the anti-CAB protests in the State. Police threw mock bombs to disperse the protestors who burnt an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hatta Golapati here on Wednesday. There was no report of any injury in the police action. Another protest was staged at Lamlong Bazar, the biggest market place in Imphal East, demanding immediate withdrawal of CAB.

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