Anti-CAA protesters sent to isolation
Assam police have sent around 33 anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protesters to 14 days’ home quarantine for violating corona-induced lockdown norms over the first 24 hours.
The move has seen the anti-CAA brigade hitting out at the government for allegedly trying to derail the protests against the contentious piece of legislation and silence any anti-government protests.
All the protesters placed under home quarantine belonged to the peasant organisation, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS).
On Monday, 13 KMSS members were sent to home quarantine under Palashbari police station in Kamrup district, about 27km north of Guwahati, and on Tuesday, 22 of its members were detained by the Morigaon police and after medical examination placed under home quarantine. Morigaon is about 60km east of Guwahati.
KMSS adviser Shahjahan Ali said they have responded by filing an FIR against the office-in-charge of Palashbari police station for his alleged unfair action and moving the Kamrup district administration to quarantine the entire police station as its personnel had physically assaulted their members.
Senior Morigaon and Kamrup police officials told The Telegraph the protesters had violated corona-induced lockdown norm. “We detained them for violation of Section 144 and sent them to hospital for medical check-up which forwarded them to home quarantine. They didn’t have permission to stage the protest,” Morigaon SP Swapnaneel Deka told this newspaper.
A senior Kamrup police official also said the 13 protesters had violated Section 144 during the lockdown. “ They are also our people. So we took the home quarantine step in their interest. They go around without adhering to covid norms,” he said.
Senior KMSS leader Mukut Deka said they had staged the protests by adhering to social distancing norms across the state seeking the repeal of the contentious law and release of our four leaders, including Akhil Gogoi. “
“On Monday, CAA completed 180 days. Akhil Gogoi too has been in custody for180 days. Therefore, we decided to stage the protest by observing social distancing but the government is somehow trying to derail the protests and finish KMSS. Going by its action, we can say that the government is scared of KMSS which is not afraid to speak up against the government,” Deka said.
Both Ali and Deka also said that the government was not trying to understand the sentiments of the people and going after everybody, including students, criticising them. “They are trying to impose which will continue to protest,” Deka said.
Hiren Gohain, leading intellectual and president of the Coordination Committee of anti-CAA organisations, who himself is under home quarantine after returning from Delhi, said the police action smacks of alleged highhandedness.
“Everybody has the right to protest democratically and peacefully by adhering to social distancing noorms,” he said.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act has remained a touching issue in the state. The anti-CAA brigade is not buying into the government assurances that the Assamese people have nothing to worry. Those opposing CAA are sure that the new law will pose a threat to Assamese identity and culture and it goes against the 1985 Assam Accord which had fixed March 24, 1971 as the date for detection and deporatation of foreigners illegally staying in the state. CAA, on the other hand, provides for according citizenship to persecuted minorities who have entered India by December 31, 2014 from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
KMSS has also decided to move the Assam Human Rights Commission against the police action by Thursday.