Several civil society groups in the Northeast have called for a boycott of Republic Day celebrations today, protesting against the citizenship amendment bill. Many underground militant groups have also called a boycott. Security forces across the Northeast are on high alert following the boycott call given by militant groups.
In Nagaland, the powerful Naga Students' Federation (NSF) has demanded that the state government should make its stand clear on whether it is for or against the bill. The NSF said that the state should not confuse the public with statements and counter-statements.
In Manipur, five civil society organisations called for boycott of Republic Day celebrations and in Mizoram, a non-profit group, an umbrella organisation of civil societies and student bodies, has also called for a boycott.
The influential People's Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM) announced that it will not participate in the Republic Day functions today.
Meanwhile during an anti-bill rally on Wednesday, many anti-India placards where seen in Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram. Such placards where common in the state during the insurgency period, said locals.
Although militant groups in the Northeast routinely call for boycotting Republic Day and Independent Day celebrations, it has become part of a larger issue this year. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 for granting expedited Indian citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants from three neighbouring countries. While people hit the streets to protest against facilitating the entry of outsiders, social groups alleged discrimination against immigrants on religious grounds.
At least four chief ministers from the Northeast have raised their concerns on the bill. Recently, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga visited Delhi in a combined effort to make the centre scrap the controversial legislation in the face of raging protests across the region.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has called a meeting of all political parties in the state on January 29, to discuss the citizenship amendment bill even as protests continue in the state.
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