Five students of Assam University, Silchar, have posted a video on Facebook, urging the people of the state to refrain from sharing hateful content online and instead exercise peace and restraint.
The video comes at a time when social networking sites are fast becoming platforms of incendiary comments in the wake of protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
“It has come to our notice that some divisive comments were made against Assamese students studying at Assam University. Such comments or statements create a division in society and result in fear and violence. The incendiary comments were posted on social networking sites and shared by people. At Assam University, students from different communities have been studying together in the past and will do so in the future. We eat from the same plate and love one another as brothers. Be rational and avoid sharing communal messages,” the 95-second video message says.
Assam University was recently in the news after All Cachar, Karimganj, Hailakandi Students’ Union founder president Pradip Dutta Roy reprimanded Assamese students studying at the university for protesting against the bill and asked them to focus on their studies. The group of five students, of Assamese, Bengali Hindu, Bengali Muslim and Bodo communities, said there could be differences of opinions but it should not result in violence or hatred on ethnic lines. “Assam is a land of diversity and we pray that diversity and unity are maintained. Vested interests are trying to take advantage of the situation and people shouldn’t let that happen,” Rwituraj Goswami, one of the five students, said in the video message.
Students from Assam and other northeastern states in Jawaharlal Nehru University took part in a rally in New Delhi on Saturday, opposing the bill. “We, students, staged our opposition against the bill. Around 400 students from different parts of the northeast participated in the rally. We must stop this bill. Assam can’t take any more burden of immigrants” said Angshuman Sarma, research scholar and representative of North East Students Federation (NESF).
They also burnt a copy of the bill after the rally.
In Imphal, the All Manipur Students’ Union (Amsu) criticised chief minister N. Biren Singh and his council of ministers for not raising their voices against the bill. “It is shameful that the ministers of Manipur are unable to utter a word against the bill while the chief ministers of Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya raise voices against it,” Manjit Sarangthem said after hoisting a black flag at the Amsu office here in protest against police atrocities on protesters in Tripura and Manipur.
The Manipur Students’ Federation, Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur, Kangleipak Students’ Association, Students’ Union of Kangleipak and Apunba Irreipakki Maheirosing Singpanglup also hoisted black flags at their offices.
The Manipur Youth Congress Committee urged Manipur governor Najma Heptulla to appeal to the President and the Prime Minister to withdraw the bill.
Additional reporting by Abdul Gani in Guwahati and Ngangbam Indrakanta Singh in Imphal