175 arrested, over 1400 detained: Assam gov’t says ‘All is Well’

Under ‘normalcy’ in Assam, here’s a look at the changing political situation, the arrests and the ongoing protests in response to CAA
Image Courtesy: thenortheasttoday.com

Assam has witnessed severe socio-political turbulence in the past week. Media houses have been attacked, universities students have been assaulted and detained. Four people have, reportedly, died due to police brutality so far, and many more have been injured. Peasant leader and advisor to Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Akhil Gogoi, has been charged under the draconian UAPA. But what is noteworthy, is the administration’s commitment to showcase how “everything is normal” while something is clearly rotten in the state of Assam.

Today, the Assam police issued a statement thanking the people of Assam for following the spirit of law. Jitendra Singh, MoS, Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region also said, “Now the situation is normal as compared to earlier. It is true that in the first two days some incidences of violence took place but the relaxation in curfew, that too on the demand of public clearly shows that situation is fast returning to normal.”

Meanwhile, curfew has been relaxed all over the State of Assam. While the capital city is seeing a curfew from 9pm to 6 am, Other cities like Dibrugarh and Jorhat have been imposed with a longer curfew of 11 hours, from 7 pm to 6 am. Other areas also experiencing similar curfew at night situation. Internet services are reportedly, going to remain unavialable till the end of this week.

Voices not silenced

While things are returning back to ‘normalcy’, the protests are still persisting. People are making their voices heard by going on hunger strikes as well. Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) is holding hunger strike for 36 hrs to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Even AASU had held a hunger strike for a day in protest at the Chandmari ground in Guwahati, Assam. While the hunger strike ended within a day, the protest is still going on there, and many celebrities in Assam have rendered support for the same.

Arrests and Detentions

In this background, 1,406 people have been detained by the police while 175 people have been arrested. Among the people arrested, is a prominent personality of Assam, Akhil Gogoi who is a President of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), has been arrested by the National Investigation Agency and has been charged under the newly amended UAPA (Unlawful Assembly Prevention Act). While he was arrested on December 12 itself, the charges under UAPA were invoked on Saturday evening. Through this law, the government is empowered to designate an individual as a terrorsit, without giving the person an opportunity to be heard, before making such designation. The arrest was made on the allegations that KMSS which was formed in 2009, was formed in association with the Revolutionary Communist Centre which then later started working with Maoist Communist Centre. It has been alleged that KMSS is the front organization these two banned organizations.

Political instability

Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) received a lot of flak for continuing its support to the BJP. A lot of party workers at the lower rung and the people of Assam who support the AGP, had protested against AGP’s continuing support for BJP. AGP is an ally of the BJP in the state of Assam and has 3 Ministers in the state cabinet.

One wonders if these fragmented votes had opposed earlier, BJP would not have been able to pass the bill in the upper house, where it depended heavily on its allies for a majority vote. AGP’s former leader, Brindaban Goswami spoke against the party’s support of BJP and called for resignation of Rajya Sabha member of AGP and also the resignation of the three state Ministers of AGP as a show of protest and withdrawal of support. While there were signs of dissent within the party, the Party has now taken a united stand against CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act).

Keshab Mahanta, the Water Resources Minister in Assam stated that NDA had not issued any whip as claimed by Birendra Prasad Baishya to vote in support of the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

The AGP has now decided to oppose the law out and out and has decided to file a petition against the law. The party which has one member at the Centre, in the Rajya Sabha, Birendra Prasad Baishya, had voted in favour of passing the contentious bill, which has now become a law.



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