Giving boost to the protests going on in North Eastern states against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, moved by the Narendra Modi government, internationally acclaimed film maker from Manipur Aribam Syam Sharma announced that he was returning the Padmashree awards in solidarity with the ongoing public protests.
The 83-old-year renowned film director and composer Syam said the people in Manipur needs protection. Saying that the state has only one or two MPs in a house of 500 plus members, he questioned what voice can the northeast have in Parliament.
“They should respect us as a state – small or big. It should not be counted on population basis. I raise this because the Union of India is made up of states,” he said. He asserted that 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, he said that he has decided to return the award. He debuted in the Manipuri film scene as an actor in the first Manipuri film ‘Matamgi Manipur’ in 1972. Late president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam had conferred the Padmashree award to the noted filmmaker for his contribution to Manipuri cinema and world of films in 2006.
Similarly, a delegation of political parties from Manipur has urged Union Home affairs minister Rajnath Singh, last week, “to incorporate a safeguarding clause for the protection of the indigenous people of northeast region in general and the state of Manipur in particular in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill before its passage in Rajya Sabha.” Manipur Chief Minister N Biren and Manipur BJP president K Bhabananda led the political parties’ delegation.