Manipur capital Imphal was hit by an indefinite curfew on Tuesday and mobile internet services were suspended till February 16 across the state in view of the continued protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, officials said. The curfew in the state capital was imposed by the authorities amid reports of tabling the contentious bill in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The legislation was, however, not presented in the Upper House.
Security was strengthened at the residences of MLAs and ministers, including that of Chief Minister N Biren Singh, officials said.
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While roads were deserted in both the districts, police personnel were seen informing people through loud speakers about imposition of the curfew and asking them to stay indoors.
Security forces have also set up barricades on major roads. Markets, schools, colleges and offices were closed, officials said.
Political parties in the Northeast, including the BJP allies, are vehemently opposing the bill that was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8. The Centre had said it will try to get it passed by the Rajya Sabha during the Budget Session.
Notwithstanding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's attempts to assuage the concerns of various political parties that the proposed law will not compromise the interests of people of the region, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has threatened to pull his National Peoples Party out of the BJP-led NDA if the Rajya Sabha passes the Bill.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and his Manipur counterpart N Biren Singh met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday and requested him not to table the bill in the Rajya Sabha.
Both Khandu and Singh are BJP chief ministers. The bill seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who fled persecution, after six years of residence in India, instead of 12 years, which is currently the norm, even if they do not possess any document.
The indigenous people of the region are apprehending that if the law is enacted, it will endanger their livelihood and identity.
No major incident of violence was, meanwhile, reported from any part of Manipur on Tuesday.
(With agency inputs)