IMPHAL, Feb 3 (IFP): Renowned filmmaker, Aribam Syam Sharma has today returned his Padma Shri award which was given to him by the Government of India in 2006 as a part of protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, recently passed by the Lok Sabha and now awaiting Rajya Sabha endorsement.
Speaking to media at his residence at Thangmeiband, Imphal, the 83 years old eminent filmmaker said in a small state like Manipur where the population is less than the population of a district of Uttar Pradesh, the bill is mere a excuse to eradicate the indigenous people of the State.
“Passing of such bill in the Lok Sabha is one of the most provocative aggressions on the people of the northeastern states,” he added.
Asserting that Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and President, Ram Nath Kovid have made statements about passing the said bill in the Rajya Sabha, he said, “The appeal of the state government to insert a clause in the bill to protect the indigenous people of the State will be very hard to materialise.”
It is very unfortunate that the government of Manipur is not opposing the said bill, when other northeastern states like Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram, which have a specific bill to prevent from the influx of immigrants are protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, said the renowned filmmaker.
Stating that the senior citizens of the State also play a vital role in saving the indigenous cultures, traditions and uplifting the society, he apprised the senior citizens to come out and protest against the said bill as it is a threat to the indigenous people of northeast.
He said he will return the award through a proper channel very soon and will never reclaim it unless and until the bill is withdrawn.
Aribam Syam Sharma was awarded Padma Shri in 2016. As a director, his fourth film, ‘Imagi Ningthem’ bought him international recognition when the film received the Golden Montgolfiere in the Nantes Film Festival, 1982.