Security tightened ahead of ‘Black Day’ protests in Mizoram
Aizawl, Feb. 11 (PTI): Security has been tightened in view of the ‘Black Day’ protests scheduled to be observed by the civil societies in Mizoram Today against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill, a senior police officer said.
Security has been beefed up in Aizawl and over 50 big towns and villages across the state for the protest rallies to be organised under the aegis of the NGO Coordination Committee – the umbrella organisation of major civil societies and students’ bodies.
NGO Coordination Committee leaders said that ‘black day’ would be observed in view of the Centre’s intention of passing the proposed amendment to the Citizenship Act, 1955 during the week in the Rajya Sabha.
The leaders said that stir would be intensified if the Rajya Sabha passes the amendment Bill.
The Bill has created a furore in Mizoram and kicked up a storm in the northeast. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8 and has been awaiting the Rajya Sabha nod.
Indigenous people of the region are afraid that identity would be lost if the Bill was enacted. The civil societies are apprehending that the Bill would endanger the very existence of the sons of the soil — Mizos — as citizenship to around 1 lakh Buddhist Chakmas from Bangladesh would be granted.
Meanwhile, all the political parties, including the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) and even the state BJP unit have expressed opposition to the proposed legislation.
MNF leader and Chief Minister Zoramthanga has said that the ruling party would not hesitate to snap ties with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) if the Bill is passed.
State BJP Chief John V Hluna also warned that the state unit of the saffron party would be dissolved if the central leadership goes ahead with the proposed amendment.
Protests continue in Imphal
Life in the Manipur capital was hit badly on Monday as street protests continued against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, a day after clashes between women vendors and police left eight persons injured.
Six women vendors and two policewomen were injured in clashes after the police cracked down on hundreds of women traders who besieged Imphal’s Ima Keithel or Mother’s Market on Sunday, firing tear gas.
Even as the injured were rushed to a hospital, the protesters were back on the spot by the evening.
Normal life has been crippled in Imphal since Sunday following a strike called by several organisations demanding withdrawal of the Citizenship Bill.
The vendors of the four women’s markets in Imphal are on strike till Tuesday.
Hundreds of women vendors have been sleeping in the main market refusing to go home. They have vowed to continue the protest against the Bill which promises Indian citizenship to six minority groups from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
Critics say if this takes place, the northeast will be swamped by “outsiders”.
On Monday, people obstructed traffic on the roads by burning tyres and logs. Even mediapersons and hospital employees were not spared. Trucks carrying milk and other essentials were not allowed to proceed.
Attendance in government offices, banks and educational institutes was dismal. All shops and commercial institutes remained closed.
Chief Minister N. Biren Singh left for Delhi on Sunday evening to discuss the situation with Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
Meanwhile, a front page advertisement published by the government in Imphal newspapers claimed that the Muslim population in Manipur rose from 23,864 in 1931 to 239,836 in 2011. “The decadal growth rate is 25.61 per cent for the Muslims.”
The advertisement was silent on the population growth of other communities.