Assam: Students, Youth Groups Re-Launch Agitation Against CAA
Image Courtesy: PTI
A year after protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act rocked Assam and consequently the entire country, several youth and students’ organisations have renewed their agitation against the law by observing December 11, the day when the Act was passed in the Rajya Sabha last year, as a ‘black day’.
On Friday, protest rallies were taken out in various districts across the state by several organisations, including Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad, Lachit Sena. Among the students’ groups which participated in the protests by by displaying black flags and banners in important public places include the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), comprising the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), Twipra Students’ Federation (TSF), All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU), Garo Students’ Union (GSU) and All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU).
The protests against the contentious Act, which was passed despite severe opposition, had resulted in the death of five protesters in Assam due to State repression. The law seeks to grant citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. However, many groups see the law as a threat to the identity and culture of the people of the region, which could lead to more influx of outsiders. The anti-CAA protests had continued in the state till February 2020, when it was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As per reports, addressing the rallies, leaders of the organisations said that the people will give a “fitting reply” to the BJP-led dispensation in Assam in the upcoming Assembly elections for allegedly “betraying the people by imposing the CAA upon them despite protests, since its introduction in Parliament till its enactment”.
Friday’s protests are seen as a return to the sustained protests in the entire region, especially in poll-bound Assam, according to political observers.
Members of the KMSS, whose leader Akhil Gogoi has been lodged in jail since December last year for participating in the protests, also took out a rally on Friday in Sivsagar district of Assam. They have also given a call for a statewide protest on Saturday, December 12.
Another youth leader, Srinkhal Chaliha from the Bir Lachit Sena, while addressing the rally in Sivsagar said that Akhil Gogoi will be contesting in the Assembly polls from Sivasagar and they would ensure his victory by over a lakh votes.
NESO adviser and AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya told The Telegraph that, “Friday’s protest shows the Northeast was, is and will remain united against the CAA despite the Centre’s alleged efforts to divide the region by exempting areas falling under the Sixth Schedule and the inner-line permit, a travel document that regulates the entry and stay of outsiders, including those from other states.
AASU has also demanded a probe by a sitting high court judged into the deaths of the five protesters and has called for protests at the district headquarters on Saturday. The students’ organisation which had spearheaded the Assam Agitation in 1980s, will also hold a meeting in memory of the “five CAA martyrs”, according to Bhattacharya.
Students from different educational institutes including Cotton College organised a protest meeting in Guwahati’s Dighalipukhuri area. Addressing the meeting in Dighalipukhuri, several student leaders slammed the BJP government and said that the protests against the contentious law will intensify ahead of the Assembly elections which are slated for March-April 2021. The father of Dipanjal Das, one of the five who died last year, criticised CM Sarbananda Sonowal as well as AASU saying that they have not taken any action against those responsible for the death of his son.
The anti-CAA protests last year had led to curfews across the state and suspension of mobile internet services for 10 days. But thousands defied restrictions and came out to voice opposition to the legislation.
This year, AASU and AJYCP joined hands to form a new political party called Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) while KMSS launched another party called Raijor Dal. Both parties will be contesting the coming Assembly polls.
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