Two different strikes paralysed life in Manipur on Tuesday.
One strike was called by the North East Students Organisation (NESO) in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The second was the two-day nationwide strike called by 10 trade unions against the Centre’s “pro-corporate, anti-national and anti-people” policies.
All educational institutes and public facilities including in Imphal city wore a deserted look.
Buses, trucks and other commercial vehicles went off the roads. Shops and busisnesses were shut.
Some strike supporters blocked vehicular movement in some areas.
Responding to the NESO strike, Manjit Sarangthem, President of the All Manipur Students Union (AMSU), said: “The opening of the floodgate to the minorities in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan will result in swamping the indigenous people in the northeastern region.
“The elected members in Manipur should make their stand clear. Their counterparts in Meghalaya, Mizoram have made their stand clear. The AGP (Asom Gana Parishad) had withdrawn support to the BJP-led government in Assam.”
Sarangthem recalled how Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren had said on May 21 last year that the Bill was for Assam only and it will not impact Manipur.
But “since then, there is a defence mechanism here”, he added.
Sarangthem warned that the AMSU will launch various forms of agitations if the state’s Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government does nothing tangible to protect the indigenous peoples.
Meanwhile, CPI state Secretary L. Sotinkumar claimed that employees of the LIC, post offices and BSNL have also extended their support to the two-day strike.
Security steps were beefed up near all BJP offices in Manipur.