NEW DELHI, JANUARY 8: The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of the student body playing an active role in formation of a new regional party in Assam.
AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya, president Dipanka Kumar Nath and general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi faced a volley of questions from newsmen here regarding their future strategy vis-à-vis the growing demand for a new regional political party in the State.
The AASU and the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) were jointly addressing a press conference at the Press Club of India here.
“We will continue to maintain our non-political stand and there is no possibility of forming a political party. AASU and NESO will maintain a non-political character,” Bhattacharya said.
The student leaders, however, admitted in private that there was tremendous pressure on them from the people to form a political party. They said it is understandable given that both the national parties – The Congress and the BJP – and regional party Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) took the people of Assam for a ride and failed to fulfill the demand of the people to resolve the foreigners problem.
“While the Congress party, which ruled Assam for 15 consecutive years played the Muslim card, the ruling BJP is now playing the Hindu card,” Bhattacharya said.
The student leaders also said that the current agitation will continue till the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is scrapped and the Assam Accord are implemented in letter and spirit. “The CAA must go and a time-bound action plan should be worked out to implement the Assam Accord,” Bhattacharya said.
Lurinjyoti Gogoi said that the CAA has a communal agenda with an aim to polarise the people.
“The Central Government is trying to communalise the State,” he said.
Stating that Assam is facing a grave crisis, Bhattacharya said that the indigenous people of the State are being forced to stay as second class citizens with the BJP imposing the CAA to protect the illegal migrants.
Replying to questions about the number of illegal migrants, Bhattacharya said that different Home Ministers have quoted different figures. “The then Home Minister Indrajit Gupta quoted a figure of 1 crore illegal migrants living in India, while MoS for Home Jai Prakash Jaiswal mentioned a figure of 1.20 crore, including 50 lakh in Assam and 57 lakh in West Bengal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there are 2 crore illegal migrants in India,” he said.
The AASU leaders also criticised the Government’s move of withdrawing the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system from Assam. When the Government imposed ILP system in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland and the Sixth Schedule areas of Assam for the safeguard of the indigenous people, then how can it be good for the rest of Assam,” he asked.
He warned the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister not to play with the future of the indigenous people of Assam and the Northeast. “We are not second class citizens,” he asserted.
Asked about the role of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the AASU adviser said he (Sonowal) has betrayed the people of Assam. “Sonowal has isolated himself. He is protecting the illegal migrants and not the indigenous people,” Bhattacharya said.
“The CAA is unconstitutional and communal as it defines citizenship on the basis of religion. NESO does not differentiate a person on the basis of religion, as according to us a foreigner is a foreigner, irrespective of his or her religion,” said NESO chairman Samuel B Jyrwa and secretary general Sinam Prakash Singh. (Courtesy: AT)