CAB protest in Assam’s hill districts
The Hills Tribe Students’ Association, an umbrella organisation of tribal students in Assam’s Dima Hasao district, staged a sit-in here on Wednesday against the Centre’s move to push the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the winter session of Parliament.
The association also opposed the government’s move to set up an NRC detention centre and implement panchayati raj in the district. The protesters displayed placards: “Dima Hasao is not a dumping ground for foreigners”.
The protesters submitted a memorandum of demands to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through deputy commissioner Amitabh Rajkhowa, in front of whose office they demonstrated.
Association president Pramith Sengyung said, “We are being marginalized and will be further marginalised and lose all our land and economic facilities if the bill is passed. The indigenous people will never accept foreigners.”
“Article 243 (M) of the Sixth Schedule has a special provision to exempt Sixth Schedule areas from panchayati raj. We request the state and Union governments not to implement the system in Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong districts as it will breach the constitutional rights and privileges of the people of the hills districts,” he added.
Sengyung said, “We have no polytechnic or BEd college or Assam University campus but the government wants to set up an NRC detention camp here. The government should be setting up educational institutes and not detention centre in the district for the welfare of the people. If the government does not withdraw its decision on the detention camp, we will intensify our agitation. ”
At Diphu in Karbi Anglong, the All Party Hills Leaders Conference, a regional party, and social organisations protested against the government’s move to introduce the bill and the Uniform Civil Code in Parliament.
Conference president John Engti Kathar said, “The Constitution does not permit citizenship on the basis of religion. Bengali Hindus in Bangladesh have reportedly suffered atrocities but this cannot be the reason for granting them Indian citizenship. Why have they not taken up the matter with the United Nations? Not only Karbis and Dimasas, the Assamese are losing their political rights to Bangladeshi immigrants. If the bill is passed, our existence will be in danger.”
The protesters submitted a memorandum to President Ram Nath Kovind and the Prime Minister through deputy commissioner Mukul Kumar Saikia.