Civil society groups in the northeast have joined extremists in calling for a boycott of the Republic Day celebration in protest against the Citizenship Bill. The Bill, if passed in the Upper House of Parliament, would shorten the claim for Indian citizenship by non-Muslims who allegedly fled religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan till December 31, 2014.In a joint statement on Wednesday, the Coordination Committee, an umbrella organisation of six Manipur-based extremist groups, the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent and the National Liberation Front of Twipra appealed to the people to shun the R-Day celebration.The Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland had issued a similar statement earlier.Claiming that the Centre staged a “legislative drama” of passing the Bill in the Lok Sabha on January 8, the outfits said the move to grant citizenship on the basis of religion was in keeping with the BJP’s “Hindutva agenda”.Organisations such as the Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur and the Mizoram-based NGO Coordination Committee, comprising five civil society and students’ groups, said they would boycott functions.Regional political parties such as the People’s Representation for Identity and Status of Mizoram (PRISM) have given a similar call besides deciding to hoist black flags at its offices. “We will also write to the Rajya Sabha Chairperson for ensuring the Bill’s passage is prevented,” PRISM president Vanlalruata said.In Assam, 30 organisations led by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) organised a rally on Wednesday to “shout out” the Bill. Leaders of various ethnic groups and intellectuals attended the rally and warned the Narendra Modi government of the fallout of enacting the Bill.AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi asked Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to “show some spine” and take a stand against the Bill for the sake of the indigenous people.“This is a dangerous bill, and people across the northeastern States need to come together to defeat it,” Samuel Jyrwa, president of North East Students’ Organisation, said.
Wrestling entertainment company WWE claims its international OTT channel is the “fastest-growing digital subscription service” after reaching its targeted one million subs mark.This comes 11 months after WWE Network first launched in the US, and follows 37% increase in subs since WWE’s last reported financial quarter.The recent growth was attributed to a free November trial promotion, the launch of the service in the UK and Ireland and “significant additions” for last week’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view event.It is not clear if WWE’s announcement includes consumers that cancelled their subscription following heated backlash against the Royal Rumble event, whose outcome lead to a worldwide-trending hashtag, #CancelWWENetwork.“We’re thrilled that we’ve surpassed the one million subscriber milestone less than a year after launching WWE Network and in advance of WrestleMania, our biggest event of the year on March 29,” said WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon.WWE also unveiled data that suggests around 90% of subs access WWE Network at least once a week, 99% access it at least once a month and that 86% are “satisfied” with the service.WWE Network, priced at US$9.99 (€8.85) a month in the US, is currently in 170 territories.