Students across NE support 'bandh' against Citizenship Amendment Bill
Aizawl/Itanagar/Kohima/Guwahati: Several students' bodies of the north-eastern region have decided to observe a "bandh" on Tuesday in support of the call given by an influential students' union to protest the proposed Citizens Amendment Bill, 2016.
The Mizo Zirlai Pawal (MZP), the All Arunachal Pradesh Students' Union (AAPSU), the Naga Students' Federation (NSF) and the All Assam Students Union (AASU) have extended their support to the 11-hour "bandh" called by the North East Students' Organisation (NESO).
The "bandh" has also been called to condemn Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent statement that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 would be passed in Parliament soon, a NESO leader said.
"Despite staging various dharnas even in New Delhi by students' bodies from the north-east, the Centre is hell bent to pass the controversial bill, undermining the sentiments of the indigenous people of the region," NESO coordinator Pritambai Sonam told reporters at Itanagar on Sunday.
Modi had said at a rally near Silchar in Assam's Barak Valley on Friday that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 would soon be passed in Parliament as a "penance against the injustice and many wrongs done in the past".
MZP general secretary Lalnunmawia Pautu said the 11-hour bandh would begin from 5 am in Aizawl on Tuesday.
He added that the people of the north-east were against the proposed amendment as it would grant citizenship to people on religious grounds.
In Mizoram, it would mean legalising thousands of Buddhist Chakmas who had illegally entered the state from Bangladesh, Pautu said.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in the Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who fled religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before December 31, 2014.
Demanding immediate scrapping of the bill, AAPSU president Hawa Bagang said, "If the bill is passed, we will be left with no option but to take up arms to protect our indigenous population."
The NSF, in a press release, said as a constituent of the NESO, it had apprised the Centre of the detrimental effects of the bill, if it was passed in Parliament.
Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharyya, the chief advisor of the NESO and AASU, had told a press conference in Guwahati on Saturday that the "bandh" was called by the two organisations, along with 30 allied ethnic organisations in Assam, to oppose the bill and condemn the prime minister's statement.