28 outfits protest Citizenship Amendment Bill in Assam

AASU says it is ‘anti-Assamese’, and will endenger culture, language and identity of Assamese people

By Avik Chakraborty in Dibrugarh
  • Published 11.11.18, 2:12 AM
  • Updated 11.11.18, 11:50 AM
  • 2 mins read
AASU members take out a rally in Jorhat on Saturday. Picture by UB Photos

Twenty-eight organisations, led by the All Assam Students’ Union, organised a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, at Thana Chariali here on Saturday.

Protesters carried placards and shouted slogans against the BJP-led governments at the Centre and the state.

Anil Gogoi, secretary of AASU’s central organisation, said, “We demand scrapping of the citizenship bill because it is anti-Assamese. We will teach the BJP a lesson in the panchayat elections because they have been playing with the sentiments of Assamese people. We are against the bill because it will have an adverse affect on society.”

Sankar Jyoti Baruah, general secretary of AASU’s Dibrugarh unit, said, “According to the 1985 Assam Accord, anyone who entered Assam after March 24, 1971, should be treated as an illegal migrant irrespective of religion. Our demand is that the Accord should be strictly implemented. The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, should be scrapped immediately since the culture, language and identity of Assamese people is at stake.”

In Dhubri, more than 50 AASU supporters, led by Lebo Roy and Saurabh Chakraborty, president and secretary of the union’s district unit, took out a protest rally against the bill from the district office of Asam Sahitya Sabha to the office of the deputy commissioner.

A similar protest rally was also taken out by the South Salmara-Mankachar unit of AASU at Hatsingimari, the district headquarters.

Sankalp rally

Seventy organisations, led by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) on Saturday announced a sankalp (vow) rally on Sunday to force the Centre to scrap the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi told reporters in Tinsukia on Saturday, “We will kickstart the rally simultaneously from four points — Sadiya, Dhubri, Diphu and Jonai — with protesters on 1,000 motorcycles at each point. The rally will culminate at Dispur on November 16 where around 20,000 protesters will gherao Janata Bhawan to press for the demand to scrap the bill.”

“Indigenous communities were leaving peacefully in Assam until the Congress brought Muslim Bangladeshis and created an identity crisis,” he said and added, “Now, the BJP is trying to grant citizenship to Hindu Bangladeshis and aggravating the crisis.”

There has been a series of protests in Assam and neighbouring Meghalaya over the bill that seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan who fled to India fearing persecution till December 31, 2014.

Akhil said the rally will cover the entire state and in the process create awareness among people and include them in the fight against the bill.

“The 70 organisations have not created an atmosphere of disturbance. We are protesting against the disturbance created by the BJP and the RSS,” he said.

Additional reporting by Rishu Kalantri in Tinsukia