Renowned Manipuri Film maker Shyam Sharma Returns PadmaShri to protest CAB

Manipur-based filmmaker and music composer Aribam Syam Sharma has decided to return his 2006 Padma Shri award in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that the Centre wants to push through.
The 83-year-old filmmaker made the decision less than a week after families of around 855 martyrs of the anti-foreigners Assam Agitation of 1979-85 returned the citation that the Sarbananda Sonowal government had given them in 2016. The government had also honoured these families with ?5 lakh each for the sacrifice of the martyrs.
“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. I decided to return the award, as a protest against the Bill”, said the eminent filmmaker and composer while talking to reporters at his Thangmeiband residence.
Syam Sharma said Manipur should be respected as a state regardless of its size and should not be counted on the basis of populations and the people of Manipur needs protection. Further Syam said Manipur has only two MPs in the Parliament and questioned how these two MPs can raise their voice in the Parliament.
CAB seeks to fast-track the process of granting citizenship to non-Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who came to India till December 31, 2014, allegedly because of religious persecution.
Syam was conferred Padma Shri in 2006 for his contribution to Cinema by the then late President APJ Abdul Kalam. Shyam Sharma had bagged several national awards for iconic films such as ‘Imagi Ningthem’ (My Precious Son, 1981), ‘Ishanou’, and ‘Sangai – The Dancing Deer’ in more than 40 years of experimenting with the medium. He is credited with having revolutionised cinema in Manipur during the 1970s.
Manipur has been on the boil for more than a fortnight because of the opposition to the Citizenship Bill. State’s Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Nongthombam Biren Singh had a few days ago appealed to the Centre that Manipur be exempted from the purview of the Bill.

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