Citizenship Bill: Manipur Local News Channels Barred From Airing Protests

Citizenship Bill Protests in Manipur
Citizenship Bill Protests in Manipur

Imphal, February 13, 2019

Following the indefinite curfew and internet shutdown called by the Manipur government in the state in the wake of massive protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in Imphal West, District Magistrate Naorem Praveen Singh barred local cable news channels from “transmission… of agitation or protest”.

On February 11th, 2019, in an order issued by Singh, he invoked powers under Section 19 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 to “prohibit transmission or re-transmission of agitation/ protest of any form, inflammatory speech and/ or public discourse that may incite violence, and/ or any programme which may lead to breach of public peace and tranquility in the interest of the general public”.

The Citizenship Bill which was listed to be tabled in Rajya Sabha on February 12th, 2019, was not tabled following an uproar over Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Akhilesh Yadav’s episode at Lucknow airport. The Bill is likely to be tabled on February 13th, 2019

The Citizenship Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2016 to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship. In other words, it amends the Citizenship Act of 1955.

Hello Independent Republic of Mizoram

On February 12th, 2019, former Mizoram Chief Minister and state Congress chief Lal Thanhawla took part in a protest where he was seen holding a placard which read, ‘Hello Independent Republic of Mizoram’.

He said, “If the Centre keeps on going like this, without listening to the people of the Northeast, we may be reluctantly driven to the extreme — not just Mizoram but the entire Northeast.”

Not just the Mizoram Congress, even the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), an ally of the BJP has vehemently opposed the bill.