Ariban Syam Sharma to return Padma Shri to protest Citizenship-Bill
On Sunday, veteran Manipuri filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma announced that he would like to return his Padma Shri award to protest against the Central government's Citizenship Bill. Sharma's announcement comes at a time when the northeast has been rocked by protests against the proposal to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from neighboring Muslim-majority countries. Here are the details.
A brief introduction to the veteran Manipuri filmmaker
The 82-year-old filmmaker and composer made his directorial debut in 1974 with the film, Lamja Parshuram. He has made dozens of films since then, and his 1990 film, Ishanou (The Chosen One), was screened at the UN Certain Regard section at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. Sharma was awarded the Padma Shri in 2006, and also received the 'Jewel of Manipuri Cinema' Award in 2015.
Sharma's decision comes a week after another major symbolic protest
Sharma's decision to renounce his Padma Shri comes less than a week after families of around 855 martyrs of the anti-foreigners Assam Agitation of 1979-85 voiced their protest against the Citizenship Bill. As an act of protest, they returned the citation that the Sarbananda Sonowal government had given them in 2016. They added that the Citizenship Bill was an insult to the memories of the martyrs.
What Sharma had to say about his decision
"It would be morally wrong to keep an award from a government that does not seem to be heeding the concerns of the people about the controversial Bill," said Sharma announcing his wish to return his Padma Shri.
A brief overview of the Citizenship Bill
For those unaware, the Citizenship Bill seeks to fast-track the citizenship process for Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The bill has already been passed in the Lok Sabha, and will be tabled in the Rajya Sabha in the next session where it is expected to face stiff resistance from the Opposition. The BJP doesn't have a majority in the Rajya Sabha.
The Northeast has been incensed by the Bill
Meanwhile, thousands of people across the Northeast have been protesting the passage of bill. Even the Chief Ministers of four Northeastern states have raised their concerns about the bill, with Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga recently visiting the national capital in a bid to get the Center to scrap the controversial bill.Share this timeline