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Governor’s speech drowns in din

Congress disrupts House session
Congress leaders protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in the Assembly on Monday.

A Staff Reporter   |   Guwahati   |   Published 13.01.20, 07:16 PM

The Opposition Congress and the AIUDF on Monday disrupted Assam governor Jagdish Mukhi’s speech on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in a special session of the Assembly.

The session on ratification of the constitutional amendment to extend reservation for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities for another 10 years began with the governor’s speech in the morning. The Assembly unanimously ratified the amendment.

As Mukhi began to read his 87-page speech, Mariani MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi stood up and said five people had been shot dead during the anti-CAA protests in the state.

Kurmi was immediately joined by his fellow MLAs who rushed to the Well of the Householding banners and posters with anti-CAA slogans. The AIUDF legislators joined them.

Amid anti-CAA slogans of the Congress and AIUDF MLAs, Mukhi could barely read his speech beyond the first few minutes.

Both the Congress and the AIUDF have been opposing CAA through which persecuted non-Muslim communities from three neighbouring Islamic countries will get Indian citizenship if they had entered the country before 2015 even without valid documents.

Before the session began, the AIUDF legislators organised a sit-in at the entrance to the Assembly and raised anti-CAA slogans. The Congress MLAs organised a protest at the entrance of the main building after the speech and refused the governor’s invitation for a tea party as a protest against CAA. The leader of the Opposition in the Assam Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, said the governor’s speech did not mention the factors leading to the ongoing statewide protests in Assam. The speech was an account of the schemes taken up by various departments of the government.

“The governor speech said the state government has ushered in a new era of development. But in reality, innocent students have been shot dead point blank in Assam and sedition charges have been slapped against people for opposing a black law,” he said.

Saikia said in the past, on more than one occasion, cabinet minister Keshab Mahanta had assured the Assam Assembly on behalf of chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who also holds the Assam Accord implementation portfolio, that if required the state government would take a resolution not to violate the Assam Accord.

“Mahanta had said the state government had received assurances from the Centre that it would not do anything which may violate the Assam Accord. But now our proposal for a resolution not to violate the Assam Accord has been rejected,” he said. Former chief minister Tarun Gogoi accused the state government of using repressive measures to crush the anti-CAA protests.

“People from across Assam have erupted in protest against the violation of the Assam Accord by the government. The government has neither taken the issue seriously nor given due respect to the sentiments of the people. Instead, it is insulting people. That is why we protested today,” he said.

The AIUDF’s Jania MLA Rafiqul Islam said the government should extend the session for a day to discuss the issue.

He said the government is trying to ruin the language and culture of the state through the CAA.


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