The demand for the National Register of Citizens (NRC) has fuelled the bloody and long-running strife in Manipur, many speakers said at a protest meeting on Thursday.
“The unrest that ravaged the state started with the demands for the NRC. The people who had demanded NRC in the state are now trying to drive the minorities out of the state,” said Prasenjit Bose, Left-leaning economist and activist and the founder of the Joint Forum Against NRC.
The forum had organised a protest meeting at Rajabazar to condemn the Manipur violence.
“The NRC is a tool of division. In Bengal, the supporters of the NRC targeted Muslims as outsiders, as Bangladeshi infiltrators. In Manipur, the Kukis have been branded outsiders from Myanmar. The same pattern is at play,” Bose said.
Manipur shares a 398km border with Myanmar.
In August last year, the Manipur Assembly unanimously decided to implement the NRC in the state. Several Meitei associations have been demanding the “immediate implementation” of the contentious exercise.
Every speaker at the Rajabazar meeting spoke of two demands: that chief minister N. Biren Singh must resign and Prime Minister Narendra Modi must speak on Manipur in the Parliament.
Between December 2019 and March 2020, when protests against the CAA-NRC-NPR combine rocked Kolkata, Rajabazar hosted many meetings by the protesters.
“The sanctity of human life has been defiled in Manipur. The way women were brutalised is beyond shameful. The inaction of the chief minister and the silence of the Prime Minister amount to criminal negligence,” said Manzar Jameel, another speaker.
“We saw what happened in Assam. Now, we have seen Manipur. This shows that the NRC is an evil exercise, only meant to create divisions.”
Sujay bail plea rejected
The bail petition of Sujay Krishna Bhadra was turned down by a court on Thursday. The court directed him to get treated for his ailments at SSKM Hospital.
Bhadra was arrested in connection with alleged irregularities in recruitment in state-aided schools. At present, he is admitted at SSKM.
Bhadra’s lawyer Sk. Salim Rahman had moved a bail petition on Wednesday citing his ailments and the fact that Bhadra wanted to be treated at a private hospital.
Enforcement Directorate lawyer Abhijit Bhadratold the court that SSKMwas a premier hospital for cardiac treatment.
The judge of the Special (CBI)-I Court on Thursday quoted from a medical report from the SSKM and said that Bhadra needed immediate heart surgery.
The court rejected the bail plea saying that Bharda was already in the “best available care and protection of the state machinery”.