A group of women staged a demonstration outside the BJP state headquarters here on Sunday, demanding scrapping of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
The protesters said they did not belong to any organisation and had gathered impromptu to protest against the “injustice” meted out to the people of Assam by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
The gate to the BJP office was kept shut for a couple of hours to keep out the protesters and a large number of police and CRPF personnel were also deployed.
The women shouted slogans against the BJP and the RSS and accused Sonowal of betraying the people of Assam by extending support to the bill.
“I was associated with the Assam Agitation and was deeply hurt by the recent statement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that they are going to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which will spell doom for the indigenous people of the state,” said Chandrama Pathak, one of the protesters.
At the same time, some Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) members also gathered outside the BJP office to protest against the bill.
“The government must withdraw the bill. We will fight till our last drop of blood,” said the president of the AJYCP’s Kamrup (metro) unit Pradip Kalita.
The police arrested around 200 protesters after they refused to disperse and detained them at the headquarters of 4th Assam police battalion at Kahilipara. They were released later in the evening.
State BJP spokesperson Mominul Awal claimed that the Congress and the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) were behind the protests.
“Assam PCC general secretary Balika Pegu and KMSS leader Dhaijya Konwar were seen among the protesters, which makes it obvious who are behind this protest,” Awal said.
He said certain forces and a section of intellectuals who do not want constitutional safeguards for the indigenous people are protesting against the bill.
Awal said even the AGP, which was in power for two terms, had not taken any step to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, except sanctioning some funds for the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra and Jyoti Chitraban Film Studio.
He urged the All Assam Students’ Union to play an active role in implementing Clause 6 and also requested the students’ union to publish a white paper on what they have done so far on implementing the Assam Accord in totality.
KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi said the women who protested outside the BJP office were members of 70 organisations, including the KMSS.
He accused the police of dragging the protesters by the hair and ripping off the clothes of some of them.
The North East Indigenous Peoples Forum (NEIPF) on Sunday also took strong exception to the statement made by the Prime Minister at a public rally in Silchar recently in favour of the bill.
The NEIPF is a conglomeration of various organisations, including include peace-bound militant outfits from the seven northeastern states.
“The bill will reduce the indigenous people to a minority in their own land and hence, we have no other option but to appeal to the people to stand united against this aggression,” the chief convener of the forum and Ulfa general secretary Anup Chetia said in a statement.
He said the forum will take appropriate action against the bill.