DOOMDOOMA, JANUARY 26: The anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests across Assam are giving rise to lessons on ensuring cost-cutting and cleanliness.
Stage and dais being set up at protest venues use old trucks, benches collected from neighbouring houses and banners which are tied to bamboo poles.
“All of these can be removed easily and promptly once the meeting is over. Hiring a professional pandal-maker costs Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 but this type of arrangement can be managed at just Rs 1,500,” said Manila Karmakar, one of the rally organisers.
The anti-CAA protests are being organised mostly with the cooperation of local people at the aegis of organisations such as the All Assam Students Union, Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chhatra Parishad, All Moran Students Union and 30 other indigenous groups and forums across the state.
“Most of the demonstration sites are being set up at minimum cost. There are no pandals. Both leaders and people take part in the protests al fresco (open air). Local people help build the stage with bamboo, wood and rope and other such materials. The set-ups are immediately dismantled and the materials returned to owners as soon as the meeting is over. Pomp and show is not our focus, we aim to make people aware about the Act’s impact. We want to fight against the unconstitutional and anti-Assam law,” said AASU Tinsukia unit president Binay Dubey.
Bamboo baskets kept a protest venue
“All placards and banners are kept safe and used in various rallies. Many supporters and artists make new placards and banners with innovative slogans against the Act and bring them to the protests. People are the main force behind the anti-CAA movement and this is why it is a success. It is not about money but mutual help and cooperation,” he added.
Protests across the state witnessed volunteers bringing tea and refreshments and distributing them among fellow protesters, while venues are kept clean with brooms and bamboo baskets.
“We are careful about keeping the protest venues clean. Bamboo baskets are kept before a rally begins. We have restricted the use of plastic bags and water bottles. Water is offered in jugs, while refreshments are served on bananas leaves. The grounds remain neat and clean even after thousands take part in a rally. Keeping not only one’s home clean but his/her community hygienic is part of Assamese culture. We practise it,” said president of the AJYCP’s Tinsukia unit Surojit Moran.
A protester said in contrast to these rallies, the peace and Sankalp gatherings organised by the state Government are elaborate and extravagant events that involve huge sums of money.