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Curfew continues in Imphal amid stir over Citizenship Bill 

Imphal, February 13

Prohibitory orders imposed in Manipur capital Imphal continued for the second day on Wednesday even as defiant locals came out on the streets in large numbers to protest against the Citizenship Bill, officials said.

Security barriers have been put up in all VIP areas of the state capital, with police frisking vehicles and pedestrians in the busy localities, they said.

Mobile Internet services have been suspended in the state till Saturday in the wake of the continued protests.

On Tuesday night, police had to fire tear gas shells and mock bombs at Kymagei and Takhel Leikai areas of the city to disperse a group of protesters, who raised slogans seeking the revocation of the bill, officials said.

According to hospital sources and eyewitnesses, more than 10 people were injured in different parts of the city since Tuesday. 

There was, however, no police confirmation on the number of injured.

Markets, schools, colleges and offices remained closed, officials said.

The state capital straddles Imphal East and Imphal West districts.

In Imphal West, District Magistrate Naorem Praveen Singh have barred local cable news channels from telecasting the agitations.

The authorities clamped curfew in the state capital Monday amid reports that the contentious bill will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha.

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.

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh and his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu 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. 

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