Renowned Manipuri filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma has returned his 2006 Padma Shri Award in protest against Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016. Addressing reporters at his Imphal residence on Sunday afternoon, Syam said the people in Manipur need protection. Manipur has been witnessing massive protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill since it was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8.
A group of students from Manipur were detained on Wednesday for protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Lutyens' Delhi. According to the Manipur Students' Association Delhi, they staged a sit-in at Parliament Street, following which they were detained and taken to Mandir Marg police station. The protesters claimed that their women colleagues were manhandled by police, a charge denied by the force. According to a senior police officer, 50 people were detained.
“They should respect us as a state - small or big. It should not be counted on the population basis. I raise this because the Union of India is made up of states,” Hindustan Times quoted Sharma as saying.
“When the Northeastern states jointly represent or present something in the government, they should consider it and if they do not consider, naturally we have to oppose.“So, as part of showing solidarity, I decided to return the award,” Sharma said.
The 83-year-old prominent filmmaker’s move came days after family members of the people who lost their lives during the anti-illegal immigrant movement in the eighties in Assam decided to return the awards which were given by the Sarbananda Sonowal government in 2016. Manipur Peoples Party (MPP) president O Jugindro said the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, if passed in the Rajya Sabha, would reduce the population of indigenous people of the Northeastern states, including Manipur, to "microscopic minority".