In a bid to register their protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), the students’ unions and alumni associations of universities in Assam have decided to deny entry to the members of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its students wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
The two universities where the entry has been banned for the supporters of CAB are Guwahati’s Cotton University and Dibrugarh University, reported PTI on Tuesday.
Speaking with NewsClick, Dibrugarh University Post Graduate Students’ Union (DBPGSU) General Secretary Rahul Chetry said that the students will not allow any organisation that extends its support to a Bill which seeks “to hamper the culture and tradition of Assam”.
Led by the DBPGSU, hundreds of students, who were also joined by the locals, took out a march on December 1 demanding withdrawal of the Bill from the Parliament. On Tuesday, the students have decided to host a black flag in the varsity.
The amendment Bill in question, CAB, seeks to amend the 1955’s Citizenship Act, that lays down who can be considered India’s citizen. The amendment proposes to grant citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from the three neighbouring countries (Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan) if they have lived in India for six years.
It should be noted that the Bill excludes Muslims, which means that once the amendment is passed, immigrants from other countries will have to show a six plus-year stay in India, while Muslims will have to show that they have resided in India for eleven years – an openly anti-Constitutional amendment.
“In a nation that boasts of its secularism, the CAB seeks to grant citizenship on religious lines, discriminating against the members of one religious community,” Chetry told NewsClick. Explaining how it will affect the Assamese tradition, Chetry said, “It is an attempt of the BJP government to bring Hindi-speaking Bangladeshi people into the state which goes hand in hand with the RSS’s agenda of turning this nation into Hindu Rashtra.”
The Bill was first brought in by the previous Narendra Modi government and was passed in the month of January this year. However, the bill lapsed because it was not tabled in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha term ended in May.
On Sunday, after meeting the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma indicated that the controversial Bill will be introduced and passed in Parliament by December 10.
To intensify the agitation, the students of both the universities plan to organise a protest against the Bill on December 5.
Protests have erupted across the Northeastern region in the past as well. In the month of November, North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), region’s umbrella body of students’ union, led a demonstration rally in the Northeastern states. A ‘Raj Bhavan Chalo’ agitation was also staged by Right to Information activist Akhil Gogoi-led Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), which ended after submitting a memorandum to the Assam state governor against the Bill—to be forwarded to the President.
“An Assam movement against illegal immigrants was led by the students in the 1980s. If the time demands, another movement will rise, this time joining all the Northeasten region together, against the imposition of the CAB,” Chetry said.
With Inputs From PTI