IMPHAL: Normal life was hit in several parts of BJP-ruled Manipur on Thursday following a 24-hour general strike called by a conglomerate of 66 organisations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
Vehicles did not ply on the two national highways connecting the state with Assam and Nagaland. Other major roads of the state also wore a deserted look.
Demonstrations were being held at various places in the state capital, Thoubal and Lilong towns in Thoubal district and the headquarter towns of districts such as Churachandpur and Kangpokpi, officials said.
A large number of women were also participating in the protest. Students were found demonstrating in front of the Manipur University campus. Educational institutes and commercial establishments remained closed in many districts, the officials said.
The strike was called from Wednesday midnight by the recently-formed Manipur People Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (MPACAB), with representation from 66 organisations. The grouping has been demanding the withdrawal of the Bill. Security personnel were deployed across the state to maintain law and order, the officials said.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim nationals from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India.
The Bill has triggered protests across the North Eastern region. Chief Minister N Biren Singh and representatives of 12 political parties went to Delhi on Wednesday to register their protest against the Bill.
Congress leaders of the state also went to the national capital separately. "The apprehensions of the people need to be removed first and the Centre will be urged not to let the bill impact the state," the chief minister had said here on Wednesday.
The 66 organisations of the MPACAB include All Manipur United Club Organisation (AMUCO), United Committee Manipur (UCM), Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) and Manipur Muslim Welfare Organisation.