The anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act brigade on Thursday said they won’t fall for the government’s three-pronged policy of domon, prolobhan, bibhajan (suppression, enticement and division) to contain the ongoing protests raging across the state.
This was clear at the second massive rally here, organised by the artiste fraternity of Assam and backed by the AASU, where they rejected the government’s decision to provide a one-time grant of Rs 50,000 each to artistes and technicians.
Carrying forward the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU)’s three-day long satyagraha against CAA that ended on Wednesday, the shilpi samaj of the state organised a massive public rally at Chandmari playground and protested through music, songs and poetry against the act.
Participating in the rally, Assamese singer Ramen Barua questioned the government’s intention while announcing the scheme. “Why now? Why had the government not decided this earlier? The timing is suspicious and it’s nothing but bait,” Barua said. Others asked why was the grant not announced before the protests began.
AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharjya, addressing the gathering, said, “The government is now applying the politics of domon, prolobhan and bibhajan. First, they tried to apply force by killing students to dominate the movement then they are offering jobs and grants to appease the protesters and then trying to give it a communal angle to divide us. But to their frustration, nothing has worked.”
Popular film actor Barsha Rani Bishaya said, “We are artistes and like anyone, we too need money but not at the cost of the Assamese community, language and culture. Today, our motherland is suffering from a deadly disease of CAA and we can’t sit in peace. The government is now trying to appease us with grants but it must realise that our conscience is not on sale.”
Singer Zubeen Garg said, “I am not going to stop opposing the CAA and will continue my agitation.” Participating in the rally, the family members of Sam Stefford, a teenager who was killed in police firing at city’s Hatigaon during the CAA protest, the victim’s sister, Mousumi, urged the people not to let her brother’s sacrifice go in vain.
“I can’t get back my brother but his sacrifice should not go in vain. He died for his motherland and I request all to take forward his sacrifice and movement forward,” she said.
The AASU recently declared him a martyr.
Massive protests were also witnessed in Jorhat and Golaghat with the Shilpi Samaj enacting a drama on the citizenship law and how it would adversely affect the people of Assam. Artistes wearing dhotis and gamosas depicted CAA and the politicians in a satirical way.
Four Left organisations of the CPI, CPIML, CPM and SFI, too, staged street plays against the CAA. The Left parties also staged a sit-in demonstration in front of the Jorhat deputy commissioner’s office. Jorhat has been one of the epicentres of protests against the Act like Guwahati. Massive protests were also held in Dhemaji and Nagaon on Thursday.
Tea workers in the districts, too, boycotted work in response to a call by Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha. Workers from different parts of the district also converged in front of the deputy commissioners’s office and took out a rally against the CAA.
Painters and sculptors announced to stage a protest against CAA through their art at the city’s Latasil playground on December 25.
Additional reporting by Devajit Boruah in Jorhat and Sanjoy Hazarika in Golaghat