Non-Assamese communities permanently living in Assam have joined the gana satyagraha organised by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, giving their scattered protests a more “organised” colour.
These communities, which had been protesting individually or in small groups, have been joining the anti-CAA protests with placards and banners in an organised manner from Tuesday, a day after AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said non-Assamese people in the state need to express their solidarity with the anti-CAA movement.
The Marwari Sammelan Northeast, All Assam Bhojpuri Parishad, Hindusthani Samaj Jorhat, Hindustani Navayubak Samaj, Marwari Yuba Mancha, Axomiya Bengali Sammelan, Sikh Samaj, Nepali Samaj, Purbottar Hindustani Sammelan and Axomia Bengali Samaj, among others, participated in the protest on Wednesday.
Guwahati-based Madhusudan Sikaria, president of Marwari Sammelan Northeast, said they took out a 400-plus rally from Fancy Bazar and joined the AASU satyagraha at Latasil here.
“We are also from Assam and want the interest of the people of Assam,” he said, when asked about his opinion on the anti-CAA movement. Gaurav Somani, another leader of the organisation, said, “We are all in it together. CAA has to go.”
Jorhat-based Rajkumar Chowdhury said the Hindustani Samaj, mainly comprising people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar settled in the state, said about 1,000 members of the community participated in the satyagraha. They held placards saying “Don’t want CAB” and “Joi Aai Axom”.
“Though our roots are in Bihar and UP, for all practical purposes, Assam is our home. Any threat to Assam’s culture and identity is also a threat to us. We are with AASU, AJYCP (and the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad) and other organisations leading the anti-CAA movement. We have been protesting against it but now we are more organised,” Chowdhury said.
Hojai-based Dharmendra Chowhan of Bhojpuri Parisad said their members took out rallies and staged dharnas in Tinsukia, Golaghat and Guwahati, among others. “Assam is our state also. We have to respect the sentiments of the people of the state. We want CAA to go.”
AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi welcomed the development. “They have understood the implications of the Act. We will have to think about Assam’s future together,” he said.
Additional reporting by our special correspondent in Guwahati