The All Assam Students Union (AASU) on Monday launched a three-day mass satyagraha to protest the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which was passed recently by Parliament. In Guwahati, protesters shouted slogans saying, "either withdraw CAA, or arrest us."
The AASU's chief advisor Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya told reporters, "As the government is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, we urge Narendra Modi and Amit Shah to scrap this Act, and respect our democratic satyagraha."
Bhattacharya further said, "No Assamese can accept this Act, as it threatens our indigenous existence. Also, the statement of the prime ministers that protesters can be identified by their clothes is a very unfortunate one."
On similar lines, AASU General Secretary Lurin Jyoti Gogoi said, "Our voices can’t be suppressed, and nothing can stop us from achieving our goal. We are not rattled by the government's tactics, and we are not going to bow down."
Both Bhattacharya and Gogoi, along with scores of other protesters, were detained as the rally marched towards the Deputy Commissioner's office. However, all of them were released in an hour.
The Supreme Court will hear a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 on 18 December. The AASU is one of the petitioners who have knocked on the doors of the top court. Another petitioner, the Asom Gana Parishad, is an ally of the BJP. The Asom Gana Parishad has demanded that the amended Citizenship Act should not be implemented in the Brahmaputra Valley, and said that it may be implemented in the Barak Valley. Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi is also said to be planning to file a plea, and Congress leader P Chidambaram will represent him, as per reports.
Meanwhile, four PILs have been filed in the Gauhati High Court against bans on mobile internet in parts of Assam. Three of the petitioners are lawyers. The All Assam Lawyers Association is also planning to challenge the internet ban.
Although Assam is limping back to normalcy, it continues to be under a strict security vigil. In parts of the state, including Guwahati, the curfew has not been withdrawn completely. On Monday, curfew in Guwahati was relaxed for fifteen hours from 6 am to 9 pm.
In several places, people have complained of abnormal increases in prices of essential commodities.
Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, speaking to the media said that a total of four people have been killed in police firing, and ten others are injured and hospitalised. "A total of 190 people have been arrested and 136 FIRs lodged. We will announce a high-level inquiry on Tuesday."
Speaking about the ongoing protests, social activist Bhaskar Papukan Gogoi said that if the government had given constitutional protection to the Assamese people, this mass movement would not have taken place.
The protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act have turned into a mass movement, and both people living in Assam and outside the state have joined hands. The indigenous population has expressed fears of their culture being under attack from illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
The Sarbananda Sonowal-led Assam government is facing the heat as it appears to have failed in fulfilling its slogan of protecting 'jati-mati-bheti' (community, land and existence).
In this context, singer Zubeen Garg has hinted at forming a new political forum before the 2021 Assembly polls.
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Updated Date: Dec 16, 2019 21:24:31 IST