Gauhati University (GU) students wore black badges and sported gamosas on their heads while appearing in end-semester exams in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act on Monday. The badges read: “I Oppose CAA” and “We Oppose CAA”.
“People of Assam are vehemently opposing the amended citizenship act which poses a threat to Assamese identity, demography and language. We will continue to protest until it is scrapped. Protests will continue in different forms. Study and protest will go hand in hand,” Pinak Kaushik Borah, a former general secretary of the university’s Post Graduate Students’ Union (PGSU) and currently the central executive member of AASU from GU, told The Telegraph.
Borah said nearly 3,000 badges were distributed among students so far and 90 per cent students, who had exams on Monday, wore those.
“There is a key difference between anti-CAA protests in the Northeast, including Assam, and the rest of India. The protests across India would not have happened if the Act included provisions to give citizenship to Muslims coming from the neighbouring countries. In Assam/Northeast the protest is against giving citizenship to illegal immigrants from Bangladesh irrespective of their religion. We will meet the local people and generate awareness about the new Act,” Borah said.
Many students used gamosas as headgear while writing exams. Thousands who joined the anti-CAA movement have hit the streets waving gamosas.
“These days, only students have taken anti-BJP and anti-NDA stand and so the government is trying to suppress their voice by using force and other means. The students have every right to protest peacefully against the Act and the government cannot force us to accept it,” Parashar Kalita, a second year post-graduate student, who wore the badge, said.
“It is unfortunate that Prime Minister Narendra Modi failed to know the reasons behind the protests and totally ignored the interests of Assam,” Kalita said.
Leading organisations, spearheading the protests, have said that protests and studies would go hand in hand and not at the cost of studies as was the case during the Assam Agitation when students lost a year to the movement against illegal foreigners.
AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharjya also lauded the students. “It is a unique style of protest. We are saying that students will protest along with continuing their studies,” he said.
Cotton University students have launched “Saturday Against CAA”. They will join hands to oppose the act after classes every Saturday. They will, however, attend regular classes.