Women vendors of Khwairamband market on Monday ceased work and strongly protested against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), which the government is planning to freshly introduce in the winter session of Parliament that began Monday.
The women vendors ceased all normal business activities from morning around 10 am and staged a massive protest by blocking the road between the two Ima Markets. They held placards that read ‘Withdraw CAB Unconditionally’, ‘No CAB In Northeast’.
It may be mentioned that the neighbouring northeastern states including Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram saw similar protests against CAB on the same day.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the protest, president, Khwairamband Nupi Keithel Semgat Sagatpa Lup, RK Radhesana decried the Indian government for listing the contentious CAB in agenda of winter session of the Parliament at a time when the State is besieged over possible disintegration with the final settlement of the Naga peace talks.
“The mothers of Manipur will never accept the disintegration of the State and legislation of a Bill that may wipe out the indigenous communities of the northeast especially Manipur,” she stated.While pointing out that MPs and MLAs are elected by the people as their representatives, Radhesana maintained that they should take the side of the people and oppose the Bill.
President, North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP), Ningthouja Lancha, who is also co-convenor of Manipur People Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (MANPAC) said that massive agitations are being carried out in all northeast states by constituent organisations of NEFIP from all the NE states including MANPAC from Manipur.
He recounted that NEFIP submitted a memorandum to the prime minister on August 9 last, on the International Day of Indigenous People demanding the withdrawal of the controversial Bill as it is ‘genocidal’ for the northeast indigenes. The memorandum also demanded a pre-legislative consultation with stakeholders. However, the demands have fallen on deaf ears, he maintained.
Further asking what happen to the ‘special clause or provision’ for protection of the northeast indigenes as promised by BJP and repeatedly stated by chief minister, N Biren, the NEFIP president stated, “Manipur CM and chief ministers of other NE states must answer to the people.”
Lancha maintained that NEFIP and MANPAC are well aware of the calculations of Indian government. The government is trying to divide the people first with the Naga peace talks so that a collective struggle against CAB is thwarted, he said adding that the seeds of unity will be sown instead. He also asked whether the question of territory will still be relevant when illegal immigrants overrun the state.