Continuing its vociferous protests against the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) on Sunday slammed Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal for not opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill like his Meghalaya and Nagaland counterparts. “The chief ministers of neighbouring states like Meghalaya and Nagaland oppose the bill though these states enjoy special status. But the Assam chief minister is silent,” said AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi.
He said AASU leaders will meet Union home minister Amit Shah in New Delhi on Tuesday (December 3) to discuss the bill and convey their “strong” opposition. Shah is holding rounds of meetings with political and apolitical organisations from the Northeast on the bill before tabling it in Parliament.
The Northeast had witnessed a series of protests last year against the bill. The AASU and other constituent organisations of the North East Students’ Organisations (Neso) had spearheaded the movement across the region.
Meanwhile, agitation mounted in Manipur, too as protesters threatened to continue agitation if the Citizenship bill is passed in parliament. Members of the Manipur People Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (MANPAC) met chief minister N. Biren Singh at 4pm on Sunday.
They firmly stated that the citizenship bill cannot be applied to the Northeast and reaffirmed their stand that there would be no letup in their agitation if the bill was passed in Parliament. Manipur was one state that went unrepresented at the meeting with the union home minister. The organisation was peeved with Union home minister Amit Shah for not getting an invitation from the Centre to share its concern over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
“If the Centre is thinking that it will be able to put the burden of illegal foreigners on us through the bill while offering implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord then it is wrong. We will not accept the bill,” said the general secretary of AASU. He added that the bill is unconstitutional and violates the secular character of the Constitution and the Assam Accord.
On the other hand, the students of Dibrugarh University in Upper Assam also joined the protests on Sunday. The students organised a protest and announced that they would not allow the political leaders supporting the bill to enter the university. On Saturday, students of Gauhati University and Cotton University hit the streets against the bill.
The students of Cotton University on Sunday protested in front of the head office of the AGP at Ambari here to vent their ire on the alleged indirect support by the regional party to the bill.
They burnt effigies of AGP leaders, including its president Atul Bora.“Through this protest we are warning the AGP leaders to be with the people of Assam. Otherwise, the people will give them a fitting reply,” said a protester. The protesters also met Assam PCC president Ripun Bora and leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia to voice their opposition to the bill.
AASU’s Duliajan unit also took out a bike rally on Sunday in protest against the citizenship bill. The protesters took part in the rally as part of the joint protests with 30 other organizations against the bill in the state.
Anti-CAB lobby meets Biren: Manipur
Emerging out of the chief minister’s secretariat on Sunday, MANPAC convener Yumnamcha Dilipkumar said: “We met the chief minister and told him that the state government should put up strong resistance and tell the Centre that under no circumstances the bill can be applied to the Northeast.” “Biren Singh said Shah had asked him about the possibility of impact of the bill if it is introduced in the state. The state government also urged him to insert a clause or sort out a mechanism to protect Manipur from the bill.”
“We feel that at such a crucial juncture — when the bill is going to be tabled for discussion in Parliament during its ongoing winter session — not inviting us to the meeting tantamount to violation of legitimate rights of the people. Even if the bill is passed, we will stick to our stand and continue the agitation,” he added.
Earlier in the day, the MANPAC held a meeting of 88 consultant partners in the group at Amuco office to discuss future course of action and made a representation to Biren Singh in the evening. They resolved to take appropriate action after consulting other stakeholders in the Northeast.
The directorate of secondary education, Tripura, has postponed the pre-board exams of classes X and XII in schools under the Tripura Tribal Area Autonomous District Council in view of the bandh called by Tipraland State Party (TSP) on Monday, seeking scrapping of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
A notification issued on Saturday by director of secondary education, Tripura, U.K. Chakma, said: “In view of the bandh called by a regional political party on Monday in areas under the TTAADC , it is hereby decided to reschedule the school-based examination to avoid any untoward incident.”
The English papers of classes X and XII are postponed to December 19 while the sociology and statistics exams of class IX students are deferred to December 6. All three papers were scheduled to be held on Monday from 11.30am to 2.30pm.
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