Monday, 30th October 2017

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Rajya Sabha adjourned without citizen bill but Northeast alert

Protests will go on till Centre drops 2 related notifications

By A Staff Reporter in Guwahati
  • Published 15.02.19, 1:22 AM
  • Updated 15.02.19, 1:22 AM
  • a min read
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Samujjal Bhattacharjya in Guwahati. Picture by UB Photos

Protests are unlikely to die down in the Northeast even after the Centre’s “failure” to table the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, in the Rajya Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die on Wednesday, the last day of the last session of Parliament of the present government, over several issues, including the Rafale fighter jet deal.

The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), North East Students’ Organisation (Neso) and 30 other organisations from Assam, which had opposed the bill on Thursday, vowed to carry on their protests to press the Centre to withdraw two notifications relating to the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport (Entry Into India) Act, 1920, and a long-term policy.

“There are still Foreigners’ (Amendment) Order, 2015, the Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules, 2015, and the system of long-term visas to people from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. We will continue our protests. As our first step, we will hold meetings in villages and inform people about these,” AASU adviser and Neso chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharjya told reporters here.

“Taking inspiration and energy from Wednesday’s development, we must go ahead to give a fitting reply to those who had attempted to nullify the Assam Accord and foil the process to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC),” Bhattacharjya said.

The organisations described Wednesday’s development as a “victory of the people”. They thanked all political parties, civil society groups and individuals that had stood by them. The organisations hailed Meghalaya chief minister and National People’s Party leader Conrad Sangma for his anti-bill stand.

Neso secretary general Sinam Prakash Singh demanded that the Centre introduce inner-line permits and the NRC be updated in all northeastern states.

AASU president Dipanka Nath said some people were issuing communal statements to divide society on religious lines. “Assamese people had never made such communal statements before. Our fight will also be against these communal forces. Our protests are not over yet. That is why we have not organised a victory rally,” he said.

“People will remember that only the chief ministers of Assam and Tripura did not stand up against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019,” said AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi.

The organisations lit lamps across Assam on Thursday evening to pay tribute to the martyrs of the Assam Movement. Those who received bullet injuries in Manipur and Tripura during their anti-bill protests were also remembered.