Manipur-based celebrated filmmaker and music composer Aribam Syam Sharma on Sunday announced his decision to return the Padma Shri award he received, in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

The Centre has been trying to push the bill through since 2016. The state has been in rages against the Bill after it was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8.

The 83-year-old who was honoured with one of the highest civilian awards in 2006, said that it would be morally inappropriate to hold on to an award from a government which fails to understand the temperament of its own people.

Throughout his career, Sharma bagged several national film awards for his invaluable contribution to the Indian film industry.

The amendment in the bill aims to facilitate citizenship of six identified minority communities namely Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who came to India before 31 December 2014 and will make these persecuted migrants eligible to apply for citizenship.

Several activists believe if passed in the Rajya Sabha, the proposed law would reduce the population of indigenous Manipuris and people of other northeastern states, to “microscopic minority”

Earlier this week, the Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh had appealed to the centre to exempt Manipur from the purview of the bill.


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