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    Protests against Citizenship Amendment Bill continue in Northeast

    Published on September 26, 2019

    By Bhupen Goswami

    Guwahati : North East Forum for Indigenous People Demands Government to Immediately Withdraw Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.The North East Forum for Indigenous People (NEFIP) has once again decided to stand opposed to the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.Angry protestors burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and shouted slogans against chief ministers of the seven northeastern states.The most affected were Manipur and Assam where roads were blocked Angry protesters burnt tyres of vehicles forcing people to stay indoors.The umbrella body has demanded the immediate withdrawal Bill and condemned Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Himanta Biswa Sarma for resolving to pass the same in the upcoming Parliamentary session.Moreover, the NEFIP have also threatened to carry out protests “in the entire North East region”, with the first of said protests to be held on October 3, 2019. Furthermore, the indigenous peoples’ organization has also resolved to “sensitize” the people of the Northeast about the Bill.

    Urging the Northeastern Governments to demand the Centre to UNDRIP in the region, the body also asked for the intervention of the United Nations (UN) to stop “genocidal practices” in the region.Lastly, the organization also condemned Amit Shah’s appeal to use Hindi as a ‘national language’.Opposing the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016, a tribal forum in Arunachal Pradesh on today demanded that the state be exempted from its purview as it is contrary to the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873. The Arunachal Indigenous Tribal Forum (AITF), a conglomerate of various community-based organisations of the state, termed the Bill as “anti-tribal, anti-Arunachalee and monstrous” which would “eat up” the indigenous population of the state in the long run. “The state is already plagued with the Chakma-Hajong refugee issue. The implementation of the Citizenship Bill in the state will pave way for automatic citizenship to the refugees besides increasing influx,” AITF President Bengia Tolum told reporters here. The Chakmas, Buddhist by faith and the Hajongs, Hindus by faith, were originally residents of the Chittagong Hill Tracts of former East Pakistan, who fled to India following religious persecution in the 1960s. A large number of Chakma and Hajong refugees who are staying in Arunachal Pradesh for over 50 years, are likely to get Indian citizenship if the Bill is enacted.

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