Demerits of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill scrutinized

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, May 16: The 17th foundation day celebration of Ethno Heritage Council (HERICOUN), Manipur was held today at GM Hall. The function was graced by Wangkhem Sharatchandra, president, Assam Meitei Apunba Lup; Longjam Ratankumar Meetei, president, HERICOUN and RK Tharaksana, president, Women Association for Socio-Economic Development (WASEDEV) as the chief guest, president and guest of honour respectively.
Speaking at the function, Sharatchandra observed that the indigenous people of all the North East States need to ponder on the Central Government’s proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that seeks to grant citizenship to religious minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
He said that once the proposed Bill becomes an Act and is enforced in the country, it would prove to be a huge blow to all the indigenous people of the North East as the number of Hindus among the illegal immigrants entering from the neighbouring countries in the region is huge.
Granting citizenship on the basis of religion is against secularism. The proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 aims at amending the Citizenship Act, 1955 to allow Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan to apply for Indian citizenship, he said.
Pointing out that many districts in Assam have already been dominated by the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and other neigbouring countries, he cautioned that many illegal immigrants from the neighbouring State may secretly enter other North East States to establish a foothold and ensure their survival by any means.
He opined that it is high time for the State Government and all the indigenous people of the land to stay alert and introduce an appropriate policy to tackle the rampant influx of illegal immigrants in the State.
He maintained that the issue of addressing the influx of illegal immigrants in Manipur and other North East States should be dealt with very carefully as the illegal immigrants may scatter and may be hidden in those areas of the North East region where they will be hard to detect.
Presentation of “Tomthin Khudol” to Manipuri writer and translator Y Ibomcha, performance of cultural programmes and holding a quiz competition marked the main events of the observance function.

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