Thousands, masquerading as refugees in their own land, took to the streets in Tinsukia town of Upper Assam on Friday to depict the horrifying effects of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on the indigenous people.
The protesters were dressed in traditional attires with gamosa wrapped around, carried household things and farming tools and sang folk songs to the accompaniment of dhul (drums) and taal (cymbals). They raised slogans and demanded scrapping of CAA.
“This will be the scenario in the days ahead if Delhi and Dispur don’t take immediate steps to repeal the Act. Lakhs of illegal foreigners, mostly from Bangladesh, will settle in Assam and the rest of the Northeast and the indigenous people will have to wander on the streets like refugees. They will lose their homes, cultivable land, occupation, language and roots. Not a single day goes by without protests against CAA in the state, yet the government remains unmoved. Five persons have died, many have been wounded and several have been arrested. Instead of CAA, the government should implement the Assam Accord,” Anupama Moran, a protester from Kordoiguri village here, told this correspondent.
Six organisations of the Moran community — All Moran Students’ Union, Moran Jatiya Karmachari Shaikshik Vikash Mancha, Moran Jatiya Mahila Parishad, Assam Moran Sabha, Moran Sahitya Sabha and All Moran Kala-Sanskriti Bikash Kendra — launched a joint anti-CAA protest in Tinsukia district, which has a sizeable Moran population, on Friday. They were supported by 30 indigenous organisations and local residents, including farmers, priests, teachers, artistes, traders and intellectuals. Protests were also held in neighbouring Namsai, Changlang and Longding districts of east Arunachal Pradesh.
“All Moran organisations have staged the protest in the heart of Tinsukia town to claim our rights, especially the granting of ST status. We also demand scrapping of the CAA,” Divya Jyoti Moran, a protester, said.
Six communities in Assam, Chutia, Muttock, Moran, Koch-Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom and the tea tribes, have been demanding ST status for long. The Scheduled Tribes (Amendment) Bill, 2019, could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha due to disruptions.