Kokrajhar/Dibrugarh, March 19: In contrasting developments, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) today began a 30-hour hunger strike to protest against the delay in updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC), while the All-BTC Minority Students’ Union sought a hold on the exercise till the issue of doubtful voters (D-voters) is resolved.
In Dibrugarh, around 30 AASU activists started their fast in front of the union office demanding NRC update, immediate sealing of the Indo-Bangladesh border, implementation of the Assam Accord and security for indigenous people.
“We have been protesting against these issues for a long time but both the central and the state governments have been indifferent towards solving them. So we have gathered here today to protest against the delay in solving the problems,” Sharad Konwar, the vice-president of the Dibrugarh district unit of AASU, said.
He warned if the government did not take a quick decision to solve these issues, they would intensify their agitation.
Ranjan Dhadumi, general secretary of the AASU unit, said, “We demand the immediate upgrade of the NRC. It has been our long-pending demand and the delay is posing a threat to the indigenous people.
“Infiltration is rampant from Bangladesh and we demand complete sealing of the Indo-Bangla border. We also want the Assam Accord to be implemented immediately. All parties have been playing petty politics on these serious issues,” he added.
On the other hand, the All-BTC Minority Students’ Union has urged the Assam government to solve the D-voters issue in the BTAD before the NRC update.
The union general secretary, Lafikul Islam Ahmed, welcomed the decision to update the NRC but urged the government to solve the D-voters issue first.
“D-voters is a serious problem and therefore, there is an urgent need to solve the issue before the NRC update,” Ahmed told reporters in Kokrajhar today.
He also said if anybody was found to be an illegal resident during the process, then the government should take action according to the law of the land.
Ahmed demanded that people still living in relief camps be rehabilitated and brought back to their respective villages so they could provide necessary data to the authorities for the update.
The minority students’ leader also demanded a special scholarship package of Rs 5,000 each for the violence-affected students in Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri. “The government should initiate a scholarship programme for the riot-affected students. Many students staying in the camps were deprived of education and need a special initiative for their future,” Ahmed said.
He said though the administration has taken the initiative to rehabilitate the affected people, there are still over 25,000 people living in various camps in Kokrajhar and Chirang in inhuman conditions and urged the administration to ensure their return.