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UCM moots referendum to revise relation with India

IMPHAL: Raising serious concerns over the lackadaisical attitude of New Delhi in responding to the people’s uproar over the passing of the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the Lok Sabha, the United Committee Manipur (UCM) on Thursday stressed on the need for the people of north east states to adopt a united stand against the political hegemony of the Centre and to redefine the political relationship with India through a referendum.

“From 1947 to 1949, when the whole Northeast was merged into Union of India one after the other, until today, the GoI has constantly betrayed the people of the region while framing its plans and polices and had treated the region and its people as a liability and expendable force which can readily be sacrificed to neighboring countries, if an advantageous situation arises,” said UCM General Secretary Kh Athouba.

“It is high time that the people of the state and the Northeast as a whole, think deeply about our legitimate rights and our own future course of action; and if need be, to redefine the political relationship between India and the Northeast through a referendum, if the controversial Bill is ultimately passed and becomes an Act,” he added.

Addressing a press conference at its office, Athouba said the socio-economic, historical, political and cultural integrity and identity of the indigenous people, which withstood since time immemorial, have now been diminishing steadily under the administration of the Government of India. The sinister designs or agenda of the government, which can be clearly seen from the present status, is to overwhelm or dominate the native people of the whole Northeast as was in the case of Tripura, he alleged.

“In the present circumstances, we should consider the reality and ask ourselves whether the policies of the GOI towards the Northeast is correct or not. Can we still be content on being a part of Union of India? How serious is the GOI in protection and preservation of the cultural and unique identity of the Northeast? Does the GOI response in accordance with the aspirations of the people? and Is the future of the next generation secure under the Government of India?” he said urging the people to reflect on the issues judiciously.

He also said as the policy of majority rules applies in a democratic system, the Citizenship Amendment Bill, when it becomes an Act, will permit illegal migrants coming from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan to acquire political rights after become naturalized dwellers in the Northeastern states; and thereby, in a matter of time the indigenous people of the Northeast will become minority communities in their own land.

The people of the state and the Northeast including political parties should strongly oppose the contentious Bill, he stated reminding that several memorandums have also been submitted by CSOs and students organizations in this regard with the intention of registering their strong opposition to the Bill. But still, the government went ahead by disregarding all the reservations conveyed by the people; this shows clearly that the attitude of the GOI wants to betray the people’s aspiration, he continued.

The UCM strongly appealed the people of the state, the Northeast, CSOs, student’s organizations and political parties cutting across party lines to stand together for the cause of the native people and intelligently think about should be done for the future of the people so that the indigenous people can be protected from the influx of illegal migrants.

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