Thursday, April 15, 2021
North East

Assam groups dig in heels on protest

AASU replies to Sonowal allegation

NAGAON, JANUARY 5: Three days after Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal asked why he had been sidelined by the All Assam Students’ Union, the students’ union leadership replied during a rally from Nehrubali in Assam’s Nagaon district on Saturday.
“Mr Sonowal, Nehrubali is the best place to answer your questions. Now you are an advocate of Bangladeshi foreigners. The people of Assam can no longer keep you in their bosom and so you have been sidelined,” said AASU adviser Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharjya on Saturday, at a gathering of over 20,000 people at Nehrubali.
Bhattacharjya pointed out 4 major “mistakes” of Sonowal and asked the Chief Minister to understand clearly why he had been sidelined and what his mistakes were.
“You advocated the entry of foreigners through the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, constitutional safeguard to the foreigners coming till 2014, inner-line permit and an unfenced border,” he added.
On Wednesday, Sonowal, in a press conference, asked the people of the state why he had been sidelined.
The amended citizenship law had given birth to an ideological conflict among the current AASU leadership and Sonowal who had also been an AASU leader. He later joined politics as an AGP leader and was termed jatiya nayak (national hero) for his legal battle against the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) (IMDT) Act.
Bhattacharjya, as well as the student union’s general secretary, Lurin Jyoti Gogoi, participated in an anti-CAA in the district on Saturday.
More than 30,000 people from different parts of the 3 central Assam districts ~ Nagaon, Hojai and Morigaon ~ gathered at the rally.
Bhuyan came down heavily on BJP and the Sonowal-led Government for misleading the people in the name of the new Act.
“The CAA will definitely bring about a terrible change in the socio-economic and cultural lifestyle of the Northeast. Unfortunately Sonowal and his Government have misled the people of the region,” he said. He assured the people that they would join hands for a long-term democratic agitation against CAA, which will finally persuade New Delhi to lift the act.
“Delhi should understand that people of the region will not accept this Act and a long-term agitation continue till it is withdrawn,” he said.
The AASU leadership on Saturday took the agitation a step further and claimed that Union Home Minister Amit Shah and state Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma will not be allowed to “provide citizenship to a single foreigner”.
“Himanta Biswa Sarma is working only to avoid punishment for his corrupt actions. He is just doing as instructed by his seniors. There is no patriotism or any value addition in his work,” Lurin Jyoti said.
This is the second big anti-CAA protest in the state after a cultural protest a week ago where senior artistes, including singers Mahendra Hazarika and Surjya Das, addressed a gathering of around 30,000 people.
“We are coming from Kampur along the border of Nagaon and Hojai. The people of Kampur had a big contribution to the 1983 agitation and the same spirit prevails among us as well,” said Amiruddin Ali, a 26-year-old graduate from Kampur College.
The AASU leadership also asked students to carry on their academic work and simultaneously join hands for the agitation.
“If the Government gives you a text book to read or money in your account, please take that. But join hands with the AASU leadership for a long-term agitation,” Lurin Jyoti said.
In Doomdooma, the Vishal Prativadi Samavesh (large congregation rally), called by the All Moran Students Union and its units against CAA in Tinsukia district was postponed to January 19 due to inclement weather and several other causes.
“We postponed it due to bad weather. Moreover, a large rally was already held here at Borguri in Tinsukia on Friday. Our activists are also busy these days preparing for the shradh of one of our student leaders at Kakopathar,” Nava Moran, the secretary of the students’ union, told The Telegraph over phone.
The Jorhat District High School Teachers Association staged a demonstration against CAA for 3 hours from 11 a.m. in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office on Saturday. Hundreds of teachers of the district from Teok, Titabar, Mariani and Nakachari participated in the protest.
The senior teachers shouted slogans against Sonowal and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
(Courtesy: TT)