Arunachal Pradesh University students join protests against CAB; Show Support to NESO

Rajiv Gandhi University Student Union (RGUSU) shows support to protest rally organised by AAPSU against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, likely to be tabled in the Parliament today.
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Gandhi University, Itanagar—joined hands with All Arunachal Pradesh Student Union (AAPSU) to conduct a peaceful rally against the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Bill today, November 18.

On November 16, the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) had announced that it will hold protest marches against the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) across all seven North-Eastern States in the region on Monday. A NESO release said, “Through each governor, the protesters will submit memorandums to the prime minister and home minister against the bill, which is strictly against the indigenous people of the region.”

AAPSU, the NESO-affiliate group based in Arunachal Pradesh, planned a peaceful protest rally to take place on November 18. The rally would commence at 8.30 am, starting from the Indira Gandhi Park upto the state’s Raj Bhawan.

In a notice dated November 16, the RGUSU informed students of the Rajiv Gandhi University that they strongly support this rally as they believe the proposed Bill is totally against the interests of the indigenous peoples of the state and the North-East as a whole.


“… (the Bill) once passed will give citizenship status to all the illegal immigrants and refugees like Chakma, Hajong and Tibetans. Which will give them same rights as the indigenous peoples of Arunachal Pradesh. In the same way all the states and indigenous peoples of the North-East will be affected,” the notice stated.

The notice appealed to the students of the University to join RGUSU at the rally to show dissent against the Bill, stating that transport would be provided to and fro the location for their benefit.

Meanwhile, media reports suggest that RSS volunteers have begun reaching out to villages with leaflets which elaborate in vernacular tongue why the bill is necessary and how it will not have any impact on the indigenous people as asserted by protesting groups. Speaking to The Economic Times, Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said that the revised bill which will be placed in Parliament during its winter session, “… is different from the earlier one and will protect the unique culture and identity of the people of northeast.”

Earlier, the All Assam Students Union (AASU)’s chief advisor, Samujjal Bhattacharya, told reporters that his outfit “would not tolerate the Bill at any cost and continue to protest against it”.

“We cannot let the BJP do whatever it wants just because it has the numbers in Parliament. With the Act, the definition of immigrants will change directly and affect the demography of Assam and the entire region,” Bhattacharya said.

Protests are also being observed in the rest of North-East India. MANPAC, or the Manipur People Against Citizenship Amndment Bill has called an 18-hour total shutdown in Manipur from Monday midnight till 6 pm on Tuesday, as part of a mass agitation organised by the North East Forum for Indigenous People. Student Unions from all over Meghalaya have also assembled in Shillong to protest the Bill.

On Sunday, the Asom Songrami Mancha also threatened the BJP that the ruling government will face a movement bigger than the 1980s’ Assam students’ agitation if it pushed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament. The Morcha’s Executive President Adip Phukan said, “We are forced to struggle for survival in our own land; and we are betrayed by our own leaders. They are neither vocal for the interests of the Assamese, neither in Dispur nor in Delhi. Their intention is only to remain in power and follow the dictates of the RSS.”


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