Northeast tense, sedition charges against 3 in Assam
Manipur’s coalition government, led by chief minister N Biren, held a cabinet meeting in Imphal and decided to ask the Centre to exclude the state from the jurisdiction of the Citizenship Bill altogether and to give its consent to the Manipur People’s Protection Bill 2018, which has been passed by the state assembly and seeks to regulate the entry and exit of non-Manipuris to and from the state.Updated: Jan 10, 2019 23:42 IST
Hindustan Times, Agartala/Imphal/Guwahati
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Manipur government said on Thursday it will appeal to the Centre to exclude the state from the ambit of the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which seeks to provide citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis, Jains and Christians from Muslim-majority Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, a magisterial inquiry was ordered in Tripura into clashes between the police and protestors against the Citizenship Bill that left seven people injured, and in Assam, the police slapped sedition charges against academic and public intellectual,Hiren Gohain, peasant rights leader Akhil Gogoi and journalist Manjit Mahanta.
Manipur’s coalition government, led by chief minister N Biren, held a cabinet meeting in Imphal and decided to ask the Centre to exclude the state from the jurisdiction of the Citizenship Bill altogether and to give its consent to the Manipur People’s Protection Bill 2018, which has been passed by the state assembly and seeks to regulate the entry and exit of non-Manipuris to and from the state.
The Manipur cabinet observed that the population of the state,which has a large number of ethnic groups each with unique dialects, customary laws and practices, is only about 0.2% of the whole country’s.“Adequate constitutional protection is necessary to protect this small indigenous population,” said a statement released by the CM’s secretariat in Imphal .
In Tripura, a magsterial inquiry was ordered into the clash that took place in Madhabbari on Tuesday, when the North East Students Organization (NESO) called an 11-hour shutdown across the region to oppose the Bill. Tripura police say that they were forced to cane the protestors and open fire to disperse them after the latter had blocked a national highway, ransacked some shops and set them on fire.
A suo motu (Latin for “on its own motion”) case was registered against the a Tripura students body, part of the NESO, which the police suspect was behind the rioting. A 48-hour ban on Internet services imposed after pictures of the clashes went viral has been extended for another two days.
In Guwahati, a first information report was registered on Wednesday against Gohain, Gogoi and Mahanta in connection with a public meeting opposing the Bill on January 7, where the three spoke. Gohain (80) called the move “a desperate attempt by a cornered government.”
“We have registered a case under sections 120 (B), 121, 123, 124 (A) at the Latasil Police station,” Deepak Kumar, Commissioner , Guwahati, said. “The meeting was held without permission...” he said.
The meeting was organised by the Forum Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (FACAB) and the Left Democratic Front, among other organisations. Manjit Mahanta is the convener of the FACAB. The meeting was attended by former Assam CMs Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and Tarun Gogoi and former Assam DGP Harekrishna Deka, among others. Protestors raised black flags at the event.
According to the FIR lodged on the basis of video evidence, slogans criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal had been raised at the event titled We Condemn. It also said Gogoi had called for Assam’s independence if needed and “threatened India’s sovereignty” and that Hiren Gohain had supported Gogoi’s address. Gohain said, “In response to Gogoi’s statement calling for Assam’s independence, I explained that the issue of independence could arise only if and when all other democratic avenues for fulfilling Assam’s demands are exhausted.”Gogoi called the charges fabricated. Assam police imposed Section 144 in parts of Guwahati, banning public assemblies of five or more people, as protests continued.
First Published: Jan 10, 2019 23:32 IST