AIZAWL, Jan 25: January 23, 2019 marked a major protest in Mizoram that saw thousands of people, including students, hit the streets across Mizoram to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016. The protestors held banners and placards that read: ‘India Forget Me Not: Faithfully North East’, ‘CAB 16 = Hinduism’, ‘We Oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016’.
But there were some that caught the attention of media more than the others, which read: ‘Hello China, Bye Bye India’.
The image of the placards from the rally have gone viral on the internet.
The rally also saw the protestors burning posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The northeast region is strongly opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill as fear looms that this will embolden Bangladeshi immigrants to enter and settle in the region, which has been reeling under the influx threat for ages. The tribal versus non-tribal narrative is a major political issue in the region.
Numerous bandhs and road blockades have been called in the region since the passage of the Bill in Lok Sabha.
Soon after the ‘Hello China, Bye Bye India’ posters became viral, the Mizo community has become a target for scorn and severe attacks on social media. The issue has become a major flashpoint between communities that don’t share cordial relations with the Mizos.
Users trolled them for wanting to go to China, some even going to the extent of calling them ‘Chinese illegal immigrants alias Dog and Cow eater’.
“Shame on you Chinese Mizos. Get out from India. You Mizos have no rights to stay in India,” one of the users said. Another user wrote: “Bye Bye Mizos. Finally you are going back to your original homeland China. Thank you all for being here as an illegal for many years in India.”
There were others who urged Modi to allow the protestors to leave India.
Rally organized by Mizo Zirlai Pawl
The rally was organised by the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) or Mizo students federation, which had also organised an 11-hour, state-wide bandh on January 8. MZP president said if the bill is passed, it would lead to the “total alienation of the Mizo people”.
However, the rally had the support of all the major parties in the State.
The finance secretary of the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), an umbrella body of students’ organisations in the region, Ricky Lalbiakmawia said there was a feeling that India does not look into the demands of its own people and through this Bill, it seems to be supporting illegal migrants over its own people. This is making people think that maybe it would be best to seek assistance from China while trying to improve relations with them.
Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India even if they do not possess any document. The bill was not passed in Rajya Sabha