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Northeast protests against Citizenship Amendment Act

In Guwahati, the Assam Jatiya Parishad, a regional party sired by the anti-CAA movement, hit the road against the 'undemocratic and unconstitutional' law
Representational image.
Representational image.
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Umanand Jaiswal   |   Guwahati   |   Published 12.12.21, 12:42 AM

The protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act was revived in the Northeast on Saturday, with the influential North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) leading the charge by observing a “black day” on Saturday across the region in protest against the “unconstitutional law”.

The CAA was passed in Parliament on this day two years ago.

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The protesters displayed black flags and banners to send the message to the Centre that the Northeast remained opposed to the CAA.

In Guwahati, the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP), a regional party sired by the anti-CAA movement, hit the road against the “undemocratic and unconstitutional” law. This is the first such protest since the movement lost momentum in 2020 because of impending exams and then the Covid restrictions. AJP members also burnt copies of the CAA.

The revival of the anti-CAA protests was attributed to some extent to the Centre’s decision to repeal the three contentious farm laws in November, bowing before the yearlong movement of the farmers braving all odds.

The anti-CAA brigade believes sustained and well-coordinated protests could compel the Centre to show a “similar gesture” in case of the new citizenship matrix as “it is another law against which the people of the country, more particularly the people of Assam and the rest of the Northeast, have been fighting since its enactment”.

NESO chairman Samuel Jywra told The Telegraph: “We want the CAA scrapped. We will never accept the CAA. We will hold a meeting soon to decide our future course of action.”

The NESO has as members the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), Twipra Students’ Federation (TSF), All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU), Garo Students’ Union (GSU) and the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU).

The NESO said December 11 would always be remembered as a “black day” for the entire Northeast as the “draconian law” was passed by the Centre on this day despite “relentless opposition by the indigenous people” of the region. Five persons were killed in Assam during the protests.

“This black day will also remind our people of yet another political injustice that the government of India perpetrated against the indigenous peoples of the Northeast. So the NESO had called upon all the people of the Northeast to support this movement and at the same time to keep on fighting for the just cause which is our God-given right,” Jywra said.

Similar sentiments were echoed by NESO adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya and AJP president Lurinjyoti Gogoi in Guwahati.

During their protests, both said the contentious CAA had to go as it was not only unconstitutional but also violative of the 1985 Assam Accord that sets March 24, 1971, as the cut-off for detection and deportation of foreigners illegally staying in Assam.

The CAA, on the other hand, fast-tracks Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who entered India without papers before December 31, 2014.

Gogoi said the law was also divisive, something which would not be accepted.

Though the law was notified on December 12, 2020, the BJP-led government has not yet framed the rules required for its implementation. The Union home ministry has sought time till January 9 next year.



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