Silchar: All Assam Manipuri Youths’ Association (AAMYA) Cachar district unit at a press-meet here today expressed its opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, calling it a regressive move by the present government at New Delhi. The Bill, now held up in Rajya Sabha, if passed, would be a threat to the demographic structure of the indigenous tribes and population of the state of Assam. The state is already burdened with the unabated influx of aliens from the neighbouring country which has however seen a appreciable halt after the coming into power of Sarbananda Sonowal led government.
It is true that the open border and the indifferent attitude of the successive governments since Independence at Shillong and then at Dispur have provided enough elbow room to the infiltrators to create a situation which has posed several questions about the identity and culture of the indigenous people, pointed out Ksh Kundal Singh, chief advisor, AAMYA. Much damage has already been done by the IM(DT) Act of 1983 which by its perplexing provisions has made it difficult to detect and deport the aliens. It is to be noted that it was Sarbananda Sonowal, former AASU president and the present Chief Minister, who challenged the Act in the Supreme Court and got it scrapped in 2010.
Questions are now being raised about the intent and purpose of the Citizenship Bill which from all reckoning might get passage in the Budget Session of the Parliament scheduled from January 31, 2019. If passed, it is apprehended that the very identity of indigenous people will be at stake in the northeast. Ksh Kundal Singh has appealed to the Union government not to proceed with the Bill in the larger interests of the indigenous people of the region.
AAMYA has at the same time raised the demand for political autonomy for the 5 lakh Manipuris living in Assam. It is not only to protect their identity and culture but also for enjoying the political rights and privileges as enjoyed by the other indigenous people of Assam. The demand for political autonomy, as Ksh Kundal Singh said, is all the more justified because the Manipuris have no representation in the Assembly or the Parliament. They have no MLA or MP. The community is not only economically backward but also deprived of political privileges. Against this backdrop, political autonomy is the only solution. AAMYA has decided to stage a peaceful rally through the main thoroughfares of the town of Silchar and submit a memorandum on their demands to the Central and the state governments through the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar next week. At the press-meet were also present Roshan Iron, president, AAMYA, Jiram Angom, general secretary, and Avilash Tongbram, publicity secretary.
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