Imphal, March 29: A massive rally was held in Manipur demanding the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state. Thousands of women from three Ima Keithels (all-women-run markets) and members of six student bodies carried out the rally from Khwairamband Keithel towards the chief minister’s secretariat in Imphal, the capital city of Manipur.
The demand for NRC in Manipur has been growing over the years, especially among civil society organizations, particularly student bodies. This is against the backdrop of an unchecked surge in the population of illegal immigrants in the state, which threatens the survival of the indigenous people of the state.
The rally was carried out towards the Chief Minister’s bungalow along Bir Tikendrajit Riad by carrying banners with slogans demanding the implementation of NRC in the state. However, the protesters were stopped by a strong team of Manipur Police near the traffic Island at Western Kangla gate from proceeding further. The protesters confronted the police for some time but later returned to Khwairambandh Keithel where they conducted a public meeting.
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During the meeting, the protesters called for an effective mechanism to check the ever-increasing illegal immigrants that threatened the indigenous population of the state.
A leader of the Khwairamband Keithel vendors also spoke to the media, stating that the Keithel vendor women cannot stay silent when the students are out on the street demanding NRC to protect the future of Manipur. She demanded the government implement the NRC in Manipur immediately.
The coordinator and member of the student body, while talking to the media said that they will continue to stage various forms of protests until the government implements the NRC in the state. He added that various illegal immigrants have started settling inside the reserved forest premises and other forest areas of the state, further threatening the survival of the indigenous people of the state.
Earlier on March 20, representatives of seven student organizations of Manipur, including All Naga Students’ Association Manipur (ANSAM), Manipuri Students’ Federation (MSF), Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur (DESAM), Kangleipak Students’ Association (KSA), Students’ Union of Kangicipak (SUK), and Apunba Ireipakki Maheiroi Sinpanglup (AIMS) staged a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi and submitted a memorandum to the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, demanding the implementation of National Register of Citizenship (NRC) in Manipur.
The demand for NRC in Manipur has gained momentum, and the recent rally shows that civil society organizations, particularly student bodies, are not backing down from their demand. It remains to be seen whether the government will heed their call and take steps to implement NRC in the state.