Aribam Syam Sharma decides to return his Padma Shri award in protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2016
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 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 honored these families with Rs 5 lakh each for the sacrifice of the martyrs. The protests have rocked the entire northeast against the proposal to grant citizenship to non-Muslims from neighbouring Muslim-majority countries. The film fraternity of the region backed the decision of Manipur filmmaker Aribam Syam Sharma to return his Padma Shri in protest against the bill. The Bill 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.