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Anti-migrant Bills battleground shifts to Delhi from Manipur

By The Assam Tribune

New Delhi/Imphal, June 5 (IANS): With the arrival of representatives of political parties from Manipur in New Delhi, the battleground for three contentious Bills passed by the State Assembly has shifted from Imphal to the National Capital.

Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju assured the State BJP leaders from Manipur on Saturday night that if the three pending Bills -- aimed at regulating migrants -- are not against any community in Manipur he would extend support to the Bills.

The three legislative measures are awaiting Presidential Assent.

He told State Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Khetrimayum Bhabananda and others that several persons had come to him saying that the Bills are against certain communities.

Meanwhile, an indefinite shutdown was enforced from Saturday midnight on the Singjamei side in Imphal West district. Besides paralysing normal life, the shutdown also hit legalised border trade since the Trans Asian Highway No.1 passes through it.

Several women's groups staged a sit-in protest demanding withdrawal of the "cooked up" charges against Khomdram Ratan, the former convenor of Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System.

T Sakhi, a woman activist said: "The Government plan was to suppress the popular movement. However, the people's agitation is going on in full swing even after Ratan's resignation".

The outlawed insurgent group, the United National Liberation Front of Manipur (UNLF), has clarified that Ratan is not its member. Publicity secretary M. Shakhen said: "The UNLF has no connection with the Inner Line Permit movement in Manipur. The objective of the UNLF has no connection with the protection of the indigenous peoples."

The Manipur Tribals Forum Delhi also held a protest in Delhi coinciding with the camping of the political party delegates, who are seeking to meet central leaders in the National Capital.

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