AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharjya at the meeting in Guwahati on Friday. Picture by UB Photos
Guwahati, March 17: The All Assam Students' Union and 28 other organisations representing various indigenous communities of the state today decided to launch a joint movement, demanding arrest of Subodh Biswas and against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.
Biswas, the national president of Nikhil Bharat Bengali Udabastu Samanway Samitee (Nibbuss) whose members and supporters had attacked the AASU office at Silapathar in Upper Assam's Dhemaji district on March 6, reportedly fled the state a few days after the incident. Biswas has been identified as the "main accused" in the incident.
After a daylong meeting in a hotel here, the organisations decided to organise a "massive protest rally" at Latasil playground here on April 1 in the first phase of their protest. "We will not stop until Biswas is arrested," AASU president Dipanka Nath told reporters after the meeting.
The AASU's Tinsukia district unit also decided to launch a series of protests, starting with a railway blockade tomorrow, against the Silapathar attack and the BJP-led government's "total failure" in protecting the indigenous people. They also demanded immediate arrest of Biswas.
The AASU's Lakhimpur district unit also threatened national highway and railway blockades if Biswas is not arrested soon.
On March 6, Nibbuss supporters had attacked the AASU office after holding a meeting in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016. The bill promises citizenship to Hindu Bangladeshis who have entered Assam after March 24, 1971. This goes against the Assam Accord which says that Assam will accept nobody who has entered the state after this date.
The 29 organisations today vowed to continue their "peaceful mass movement" till the bill is cancelled. "Our stand is clear. A small state like Assam cannot take the burden of more foreigners. The implementation of the Assam Accord is the only solution to the decades-long foreigner problem of the state," the AASU president said.
"The BJP-led government had said the indigenous people need not worry with them coming to power. But now the indigenous people are always worried. How can a person, who was announced as 'most wanted' by the government, safely hide in a small place like Silapathar for five days and then escape the state? It is our challenge to chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal to arrest Biswas from wherever he is," said AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi.
Today's meeting was attended by All Assam Tribal Sangha secretary Aditya Khakhlary and All Bodo Students' Union (Absu) president Pramod Boro, among others.
The organisations also demanded the update of the National Register of Citizen within a specific time.
The V.B. Pyarelal Committee, which was constituted by the state government to inquire into the Silapathar incident, has called a public hearing on Tuesday at the panchayat office in Silapathar.
Dhemaji deputy commissioner Roshani A. Korati told The Telegraph that peace had returned to Silapathar and no incident was reported since curfew was lifted yesterday.
Police today arrested two more persons, Ambika Debnath and Jitumoni Nath, in connection with the Silapathar incident from Likabali in Dhemaji district. With this, the number of arrested persons is 51. They also took Binoy Biswas, the central organising secretary of Nibbuss who was arrested on March 12, in their custody.
Additional reporting by Rishu Kalantri in Tinsukia and Vinod Kumar Singh in Silapathar