Thousands of citizens, including students in Mizoram, took to the streets on January 23 to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which was recently passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8.
Thousands protest against citizenship bill
Mizoram’s NGO Coordination Committee, an organisation of civil societies and students’ bodies has even called for the boycott of Republic Day celebrations in the state to protest against the bill. Reportedly, on Wednesday, effigies of the Prime Minister and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh were burnt at the rallies which were taken out by thousands of protestors from Aizawl’s seven district headquarters and at over 50 other places.
Additionally, the agitators also demanded the resignation of Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh while alleging that the bill will endanger the existence of the Mizos, reported NDTV. The rally was reportedly organised by Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) or Mizo students federation. The same organisation has also called for a 11-hour state-wide bandh on January 8. The NGO Coordination Committee also reportedly lent its support to the rally.
Ricky Lalbiakmawia, the finance secretary of the North East Students’ organisation said, “There is a strong feeling among us Mizos that India does not listen to us, does not care for us, and favours illegal migrants over us,” reported Scroll. According to the organisers, around 30,000 people attended the Aizwal rally.
“We have submitted multiple representations to the home minister, the prime minister and the joint parliamentary committee on the Bill, but they don’t want to listen to our feelings,” said Lalhmachhuana, the general secretary of the Young Mizo Association.
Meanwhile, Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga on January 25 said that the ruling Mizo National Front would snap its ties with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is not revoked. He even said that the party, as well as the government, has been making all efforts to defeat the bill, reported News18.
What is the Citizenship Bill?
On January 8, amidst strong protests by the opposition the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed in the Lok Sabha. The bill that seeks to give Indian citizenship to six non-Muslim communities belonging to the three neighbouring countries- Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan has drawn flak from opposition and BJP ally parties. The parties who oppose the bill, claim that the bill is “against the fundamental aspects of the Indian Constitution.”
Introduced by Home Minister Rajnath Singh the bill claims that the six communities- Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis can take citizenship in India. While introducing the proposal, the union minister said that these six communities face “discrimination and religious persecution” and they “have no place to go, except India.”
The bill has reduced the mandatory requirement of 12 years stay in the country to seven years to avail the citizenship if they do not possess any document. The bill says that the people who belong to these six communities can seek Indian citizenship if they have come to India before December 31, 2014, reports The Hindu.