The indefinite curfew imposed in Manipur's capital city here on Tuesday was lifted on Wednesday following improvement in the law-and-order situation, officials said. However, the suspension of mobile internet services across the north-eastern state would continue, they added.
The authorities had clamped the curfew and suspended the mobile internet services across Manipur till February 16 in view of the continued protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Imphal West District Magistrate Naorem Praveen Singh said the indefinite curfew in Imphal was lifted at 1.30 pm, following improvement in the law-and-order situation in the state capital.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister N Biren Singh thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh for not tabling the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha and opting for a consensus-driven approach. "On behalf of the people of Northeast & in particular Manipur, I would like to profusely thank Hon'ble PM @narendramodi ji, BJP Pres @amitshah ji and HM @rajnathsingh ji for not tabling the CAB and opting for the consensus-driven approach. We deeply appreciate your affection for NE!," he said in a tweet.
The contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill will lapse on June 3, when the term of the present Lok Sabha ends, as it could not be passed in the Upper House of Parliament, which was adjourned sine die on Wednesday, the last day of the Budget Session of Parliament. The bill provides for according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in the country, instead of 11 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document.
The legislation was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8 and has been awaiting the Rajya Sabha's nod. On Wednesday morning, defiant locals took to the streets in large numbers to protest against the bill, officials said.
Barriers were put up in all the VIP areas of the state capital, with the police frisking vehicles and pedestrians in the busy localities, they added. On Tuesday night, the police had to fire tear gas shells and hurl mock bombs at the 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 sources at hospitals and eyewitnesses, over 10 persons were injured in different parts of the city since Tuesday. There was, however, no police confirmation on the number of injured persons.
Markets, schools, colleges and offices remained closed, officials said. The Imphal West district magistrate has barred the local cable news channels from telecasting the agitations.
Political parties in the north-east, including the allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are vehemently opposing the bill. The Manipur chief minister and his Arunachal Pradesh counterpart Pema Khandu met 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 indigenous people of the region are apprehending that if the law is enacted, it will endanger their livelihood and identity.
(With inputs from agencies.)