March for harmony in Hajo
Thousands marched hand in hand on Thursday to convey the message of communal harmony and unity at Hajo, about 30km west of here, as part of the Samanway Sobhayatra (harmony rally) organised by All Assam Students’ Union since 1993 and amid the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
The procession, in its 28th year, assumes significance because it was first taken out after the demolition of the Babri Masjid, at Hajo in Kamrup district, a place known for peaceful coexistence of various communities.
The organisers used the procession, taken out on the first day of Magh, to convey that communalism has no place in society, while alluding to the law which is seen by the anti-CAA brigade not only as a threat to the culture and identity of the Assamese people but also discriminates against Muslims.
The Act will provide citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, who entered India before December 31, 2014. They also said it violates the 1985 Assam Accord, which sets March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for detection and deportation of illegal immigrants.
The procession, which saw the participation of the AASU top brass, leading artistes and personalities, started near the Powa Mecca mosque and concluded at Hayagrib Madhab temple, 4km away.
AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi, without referring to CAA, said, “When the entire country is involved in communal politics and clash, Assam has emerged as a symbol of unity and communal harmony. The Samanway rally-Monikut Festival is an example of that.”
“We are giving the message of harmony and goodwill which will destroy communal politics being spread now. Communalism has no place in our society, which was created by Srimanta Xankardeb and Ajan Fakir. Nobody can divide us,” he added.
Popular singer Zubeen Garg said: “Hajo is a symbol of harmony and Assamese people will always live together peacefully.”
Actor Barsha Rani Bishaya said Monikut Festival reflects the secular state of Assam. “I am proud of that.”
There was, however, no let-up in the anti-CAA protests for the past two days, including in Jorhat, Nagaon, Bokakhat and Hailakandi, sit-ins and waving of black flags to BJP leaders. Copies of the Act were burnt on mejis on Wednesday morning.
The Advocates’ Association for Indigenous Rights of Assamese, in its petition to the Supreme Court, said CAA violates the Constitution, the Accord and the Immigrants (Expulsion from Assam) Act, 1950, of which the last two are aimed at protecting the indigenous inhabitants of Assam.
“State of Assam has repeatedly witnessed ethnic clashes and violence leading to loss of human lives and destruction of properties. The state is unable to ensure the safety and security of its inhabitants thereby resulting in a direct infringement of Article 21 of the Constitution. That person who illegally entered into India will no longer be an illegal immigrant, now because of enactment of CAA,” the petition said.