GUWAHATI, JANUARY 13: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday addressed youths at Belur Math, a Ramakrishna Mission monastery in Bengal, where he dwelt on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and said the Northeast was “our pride.”
The day marks the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, but instead of focusing on his ideals, Modi delivered a political speech.
Leading student organisations in Assam immediately directed the Prime Minister’s attention to the protests raging in Assam and elsewhere in the region and urged him to scrap the Act. They said they would trust him only after unconditional withdrawal of the “contentious” law.
They were reacting to Modi’s statement that the culture, tradition and demography of the Northeast would remain untouched. The Prime Minister stressed that the Centre would specifically take care of the Northeast.
“Our Northeast is our pride. Their culture and tradition remain untouched by this amendment. The Central Government has taken care of it specifically: PM Modi,” said a tweet on the official Twitter account of the BJP.
“On the National Youth Day, I tell the youths of West Bengal, Northeast and entire India that any person with any religion from any country can still apply for Indian citizenship. The CAA is not about taking away citizenship. It is about giving citizenship: PM Modi,” another tweet said.
AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said: “Modi does not realise the sentiments of the Assamese people. How can he take care of the Northeast?
“The Assamese people are continuously protesting against the contentious and divisive law as it threatens our very existence. Modi is disrespecting democratic protests and making political statements. He should clearly say what kind of protection he will give and in what form.
“Modi promised that he would implement the Assam Accord, but his Government has brought a law which directly violates it. Out stand is clear ~ scrap the CAA immediately and deport the foreigners as per the Accord.”
The Satra Mukti Sangram Samiti (SMSS), the students’ wing of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), said the Centre had “hugely betrayed” the state.
“Assam will not be swayed by fake promises and sops by the fascist Government which killed 5 innocent persons and arrested hundreds of protesters. Why is he afraid of visiting Assam? First scrap CAA and release the arrested protesters unconditionally. This communal Government has no moral right to talk about Assam’s safeguard,” publicity secretary of the SMSS, Kashyap Nondon Kalita, said.
Dubbing Modi’s speech as “rhetoric”, the general secretary of the SFI Assam state committee, Nirangkush Nath, said: “Scrap the CAA first; only after that you have the right to speak about protecting Assam’s language and culture. You have already defied the Assam Accord which is a national commitment made to the people of Assam. You have forgotten the oath to abide by the Constitution of India. Stop your divisive politics. People of Assam are now fed up with your rhetorical speeches, it is time to listen to people’s voices.”
The general secretary of the Cotton University Students’ Union, Rahul Bordoloi, said Modi had concocted a story to avoid the ongoing agitation in the Northeast.
“It is a disrespect to the people. The pride of the Northeast is shattered. We Northeasterners do not believe in the kind of stories that Modi is telling us,” he said.