The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) have called an 11-hour Assam bandh and Northeast bandh respectively on January 8 in protest against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement regarding enacting the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 at a poll rally in Silchar yesterday.
The organisations said that the Union government’s move to forcefully impose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill completely overlooking the protest by the indigenous people of the region would never be accepted.
“Other than being communal and unconstitutional, the Bill, if enacted, would adversely impact the sociocultural life and demographic pattern of Assam and other northeastern States,” claimed the protesting organisations.
The Assam bandh called by AASU from 5 am to 4 pm has been supported by 30 organisations representing the indigenous communities and tribes of Assam. Some events like ABSU convention, Gorkha cultural meet, Golaghat convention of the regional unit of AASU, all examinations and necessary services have been kept out of the purview of the bandh.
“It was a painful decision on our part to call an Assam bandh that affects normal life. But, with all our democratic means of protest falling on deaf ears, we are left with no other options but to take rigorous steps. After more than a decade, the AASU has called a bandh. Last time we called a bandh was after the serial bomb blasts in October 2008,” AASU and NESO advisor Dr Samujjal Bhattacharya said.
“The Bharatiya Janata Party has acted against the will of the people of the State. The Assamese people would give them a befitting reply in the upcoming general elections,” AASU president Dipanka Kumar Nath added.
The students’ body also alleged that the entire drama unfolding around the PM’s State visit, sudden decision of the JPC to come up with the partial report without visiting the State and the region properly, the Union Cabinet’s proposal to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and the State government’s conspicuous silence over the entire issue, has exposed the double standard of the BJP, which came to power in the name of protecting the interests of the indigenous people of the State.
“We are not ready to compromise on Clause 5 of the Accord that seeks to detect, delete and expel the illegal foreigners from the State. We have taken the burden of illegal migration till 1971 and not ready to take additional burden proposed in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill,” AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said.
Giving a bandh call for the entire Northeast, NESO chairman Samuel Jyrwa warned the Government of India not to play with the future of the indigenous people of the Northeast for vote bank politics. “We will never accept this Bill as it is an imposition on the sentiments of the indigenous people of the region and this dangerous move by the Centre will reduce the indigenous people of the Northeast to minorities in their own land,” he added.
On January 7, when the JPC is supposed to submit its report, the AASU units across the State would burn the copies of the Bill. On January 23, another protest action ‘Khilanjiyar Bajra Ninad’ (clarion call by the indigenous) has been organised where the people of Assam would come down on the streets of Guwahati in protest against the Bill.
Source: The Assam Tribune