Citizenship Bill: Groups, militants in Northeast call for boycott of Republic Day celebration

Stating that the Bill calls for strong protests, the NGO Coordination Committee said government employees, students and people at large would stay away from R-Day functions. 

Published: 23rd January 2019 07:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2019 07:13 PM   |  A+A-

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Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Enraged over the BJP-led Central government’s move to grant Indian citizenship to six persecuted minority communities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, several organisations of the Northeast, including that of the militants, have called for a boycott of Republic Day celebration.

In a joint statement, Manipuri rebel groups which operate under the banner of Coordination Committee or CorCom, United Liberation Front of Assam-Independent (ULFA-I) and National Liberation Front Twipra appealed to people in the region to boycott R-Day celebration. 

“…Recently, the Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 hastily. The purpose was to disrupt the peaceful situation in our region by going against the wishes of people. The (Joint Parliamentary) Committee and its report was merely a cloak screen to legitimize a hidden policy….

“The Indian colonial rulers had already taken a firm decision, much before they introduced the Bill in Parliament. For instance, on December 7, 2015, the Ministry of Home Affairs…notified controversial clauses that are subsequently inserted into the Bill. The fact that Lok Sabha passed the Bill on January 8 was a mere legislative drama or a final touch on a well-engineered plan,” the rebel groups said in the statement.

Many Indian nationalists protest the Bill on the ground that it violates secularism and serves “Hindutva” agenda. It is true that on its face value, the Bill conveys an open assertion of religiously-communalized nationalist hype centred on Hindutva, i.e., identifying India with Hinduism, the statement added. 

In Mizoram, the NGO Coordination Committee, which is a conglomerate of various civil society and students’ organisations, and political party People’s Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM) have given a similar call for a boycott of R-Day celebration.

Stating that the Bill calls for strong protests, the NGO Coordination Committee said government employees, students and people at large would stay away from R-Day functions. 

The PRISM said black flags would be hoisted at all its offices to register protests against the Bill. The party has decided to write to Rajya Sabha chairman to prevent Bill’s passage in the House.

Meanwhile, 30 organizations and All Assam Students’ Union jointly organised a massive anti-Bill rally in Guwahati on Wednesday. It was attended by leaders of various ethnic groups, students’ organisations, editors, intellectuals etc. The protestors warned the Narendra Modi government against enacting the Bill by ignoring the widespread protests in the Northeast.

Terming the Bill as a threat to the identity of indigenous communities and their livelihood, North East Students’ Organisation chief Samuel Jyrwa appealed to people in the region to intensify the protests against the “dangerous” Bill.


Despite the statewide protests, the BJP has kept winning the local body elections in Assam.

After its landslide victory in the recent panchayat elections, the party swept the North Cachar Autonomous Hills Council (NCAHC) elections, the complete results of which were declared on Tuesday night. Of the 28 seats, the BJP won 19. Opposition Congress and Asom Gana Parishad bagged two and one seat respectively. Six seats went to Independent candidates. 

“Assam reposes its faith in leadership of Sri @narendramodi and Sri @AmitShah. The results of North Cachar Autonomous Hills Council amply prove this. @INCIndia 2, AGP 1, Independent 6. Congratulations to all my dear colleagues who won,” Assam minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted. 

In the 2013 NCAHC elections, the BJP had drawn a blank with Congress and Independent candidates winning ten seats each. However, in due course, 17 elected members of various political parties, including the Congress, had defected to the BJP.

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