Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Saturday came down heavily on organisations that boycotted Republic Day celebrations in the state to protest against the citizenship bill, saying they should instead contest elections to get people”s mandate.
Bandhs and blockades hit daily wage earners the most, Mr Biren said, adding, he has appealed to the organisations multiple times not to resort to such kind of protests.
“We are duly elected legislators who have formed a government based on the mandate of the people…. Leaders of those (protesting) bodies should contest elections and get people”s mandate in order to participate in the decision-making meetings,” Mr Biren said at the Manipur Rifles Parade Ground.
At least five organisations, including the United Committee Manipur (UCM), All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO) and Committee of Civil Societies Kangleipak (CCSK) jointly boycotted the 70th Republic Day celebrations to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.
“Let the teachers, students and others carry out their respective duties,” the chief minister said, warning that actions of these outfits would tantamount to running a “parallel administration”, which is “unacceptable”.
In neighbouring Mizoram too, Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan addressed an almost-empty ground due to a statewide boycott call given by the NGO Coordination Committee, an organisation of civil society groups and student bodies.
On the controversial bill, Mr Biren said the protesters should understand and analyse it first.
The state government will not “remain silent if the bill harms the interest of the people,” he asserted.
Manipur will also urge the Centre to include a provision or a clause within the framework of the rules, so as to enable the consent of the state government before granting citizenship, the chief minister said.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, passed in Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Several outfits in the Northeast have opposed it claiming that it would undermine the rights of the indigenous people of the region.