Six students’ organisations of Manipur hit the streets of Imphal on Monday seeking the immediate implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which the Manipur Assembly had unanimously decided to implement in August last year.
The students’ organisations first staged a protest in front of the CM Bungalow in Imphal but were dispersed by police. Then they marched to the Raj Bhavan and to the nearby BJP office, raising their demand for the NRC to check influx from neighbouring Myanmar among others. Manipur shares a 398km border with Myanmar.
“We held our protest at three sites for implementation of the NRC and also for the establishment of the state population commission. We could not meet the chief minister (N. Biren Singh) as he was out of the station,” Sukham Bidyananda, president of the Kangleipak Students’ Association (KSA), told The Telegraph from Imphal.
He said: “We want the NRC to check the unnatural growth of population in the hill districts, mainly from Myanmar and Bangladesh (also through Myanmar), to secure the future of the indigenous population.”
“The state Assembly had in August last year unanimously adopted two resolutions for the implementation of the NRC and the establishment of the population commission. We will soon announce our future course of action,” Bidyananda said.
The protest started around 11.30am and ended around 1.30pm in Imphal. The six students’ organisations will be holding a protest at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi within the next three-four days, Bidyananda said after a meeting of the organisations on Monday evening.
Besides the KSA, the other students’ organisations that took part in Monday’s rally included the All Manipur Students Union (AMSU), Manipuri Students’ Federation (MSF), Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur (DESAM), Students’ Union of Kangleipak (SUK) and Apunba Ireipakki Maheiroi Sinpanglup (AIMS).
Manipur has 16 districts including 10 hill districts that have a huge ST population.
Manipur has a population of around 32 lakhs. The NRC, an exercise to document Indian citizens, has been carried out only in Assam but that too remains incomplete.
Over 19 lakh applicants failed to make the register but soon there were allegations of illegal migrants getting themselves listed.
The case is in the Supreme Court now.
The influx has been a sensitive issue in Manipur for the past several years. On August 6, 2022, the Manipur Assembly adopted two private member resolutions — implementation of the NRC and setting up of the state population commission.
Janata Dal United MLA K. Joykishan Singh had contended that the population of the hill districts increased by 153.3 per cent between 1971 and 2001 and by 250.9 per cent between 2001 and 2011 whereas the population of the valley districts grew by 94.8 per cent and 125.4 per cent in the two periods respectively.
Civil society groups had been demanding the NRC and the commission before the two resolutions were adopted.
In July 2022, the CSOs had even moved Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister to protect the indigenous population from the “ever-growing influx of non-Indians”.
Of late, the BJP-led Manipur government has steppedup vigil against the influxfrom Myanmar.