GUWAHATI: Normal life came to a grinding halt in Manipur’s Imphal Valley on Tuesday during an 18-hour statewide shutdown which was called by the Manipur People Against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
During the bandh, which began at 12 midnight on Monday, shops and commercial establishments, as well as educational institutes, remained closed. On Monday, the government had threatened to cancel the licences of shops if found closed on Tuesday.
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The roads in the valley wore a deserted look as there was no movement of vehicles except those belonging to security forces and on emergency services. The services of passenger vehicles, plying within the state and to and from the state, were cancelled.
According to reports reaching here, attendance in government offices was thin despite the government’s instruction to its employees to attend office. The shutdown, however, had little impact in the hill districts which surround the valley.
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The protestors, including women and students, hit the streets in some places and chanted slogans against the controversial bill which seeks to grant Indian citizenship to immigrants belonging to six “persecuted” non-Muslim communities from Bangladesh besides Pakistan and Afghanistan who migrated till December 31, 2014.
The shutdown coincided with a hunger strike being staged by opposition Congress against the bill. The party is also demanding the protection of Manipur’s territorial integrity vis-à-vis Naga issue.
Even as the shutdown in Imphal Valley continued, a similar 18-hour shutdown began in neighbouring Nagaland at 6 pm on Tuesday against Citizenship Bill.