The seven Manipur student organisations seeking the immediate implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state are now pushing for the involvement of all 60 state MLAs in their ongoing movement to secure the future of the state’s indigenous population.
The student bodies on Wednesday announced their decision to hold a mega rally in Imphal by the second week of April to “create awareness” about the NRC issue while urging the state MLAs to extend their support to the rally and also in “mounting” pressure on the Centre for the implementation of the NRC.
Manipur has a BJP-led coalition government. The seven student organisations included the All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU), Manipuri Students’ Federation (MSF), Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur (DESAM), Kangleipak Students’ Association (KSA), Students’ Union of Kangleipak (SUK), Students’ Union of Kangleipak Apunba Ireipakki Maheiroi Sinpanglup (AIMS) and the All Naga Students’ Association of Manipur (ANSAM).
The student organisations have already staged two dharnas — in Imphal on March 13 and in New Delhi on March 17, reminding the authorities that the Manipur Assembly had unanimously adopted a resolution to implement the NRC in August 2022.
They also submitted a memorandum to Union home minister Amit Shah on March 20, seeking the implementation of the NRC with 1951 as the base year.
Representatives of the student bodies said the NRC implementation has become the “only” option to identify illegal immigrants, especially from Myanmar and Bangladesh in the hill districts, those involved in mass deforestation in reserved and protected forest areas and illegal poppy farming, and secure the future of the indigenous people.
KSA president Sukham Bidyananda, who is also the spokesperson of the student organisations, said in Imphal that the student bodies want the MLAs to be part of the movement as they are peoples’ representatives and their participation will put pressure on the Centre to look at the students’ demand for the NRC.
Out of 60 MLAs, 20 MLAs are from the 10 hill districts having a significant ST population. Manipur has 16 districts and a population of around 32 lakhs.
“Manipur’s population growth rate between 2001 and 2011 was 24.50 per cent, while the national average for the same period was 17.64 per cent. The increase in population growth rate cannot be explained by natural birth and can only be attributed to migration from neighbouring countries, including Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal and some other states. All illegal immigrants must be detected through the NRC in the interest of the people of Manipur,” a student leader said.