Manipur capital Imphal turned into a virtual battlefield on Tuesday following clashes between protesters and police after thousands of women, students and youth organised protests rallies and demonstrations against the state governments alleged "delaying tactics" in implementing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state, and in setting up the Manipur State Population Commission.
As many as six influential students' organisations, supported by hundreds of women vendors from the 'Ima market' (all women market) and members of the Coordinating Committee on Manipur Integrity (COCOMI) took out a rally towards the Chief Minister's official bungalow.
Huge contingent of police prevented the protesters from moving towards the CM's bungalow, leading to clashes in which many from both sides suffered injuries.
After hours of clashes, arguments and chaos, Manipur police said that the situation has been brought under control.
The students of the six organisations led by Manipur Students' Federation assembled first in front of the Ima market before starting the rally with the support of many women traders.
The protesters held placards in their hands which read "protect indigenous rights and future", "save forests, save environment".
Students' organisation COCOMI, and the 'Imas' (women or mothers) of the all-woman market announced to continue their protests demanding steps be taken by the Manipur government to tackle illegal migration, implementation of the NRC and population commission.
Spokesman of six students' bodies, Salam Upen, said that their efforts for protection and preservation of the indigenous people would continue until and unless their demands are met.
An elderly Ima - Thoibi Devi - said that if the Manipur government fails to implement the NRC to protect the indigenous people, all 60 legislators of Manipur should resign from the Assembly.
According to the agitators, the influx of outsiders from both inside and outside the country, including people from Myanmar, Nepal and Bangladesh, has significantly affected the identity, culture, economy, administration and environment of Manipur.
The students' organisations also demanded detecting and deporting illegal immigrants from Manipur.
"We are not against any community or religion, but we want to protect our land, environment, and indigenous communities from the adverse effects of illegal settlements," said a spokesperson for the students' bodies.
After the Manipur Assembly had last year adopted a private member resolution to establish a population commission in Manipur, the state Cabinet approved the establishment of the Manipur State Population Commission.
However, the required official process is yet to start for the functioning of the commission.
The Central government had on December 11, 2019 introduced the (Inner Line Permit) system to strictly monitor the movement of outsiders in the state and to protect the interest of the indigenous people.
The ILP under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, is an official travel document that allows an Indian citizen to visit the states where ILP is enforced for a limited period of time and with a specific purpose.
( 489 Words)