After a year’s break, fresh anti-CAA protests begin in Assam
After a year-long hiatus, a fresh round of protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was launched in Assam from Friday, months ahead of the next Assembly polls in the state.
Protests against the legislation, which seeks to grant citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, had turned violent last year and five persons were killed in police firing.
Many indigenous groups in Assam and other states in the region feel CAA would lead to an influx of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, which in turn could hurt indigenous communities.
The fresh round of protests have been supported by 18 organisations including North East Students Organisation (NESO), All Assam Students Union (AASU), Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS).
All student organizations in the seven northeastern states which are affiliated to NESO marked Friday as a Black Day. The organization had also observed Black Day on December 11 last year, the day CAA was passed by Rajya Sabha.
“We won’t accept CAA at any cost. NESO had observed Black Day in all states in the region on December 11 last year and this year too we are registering our protest in the same manner on the same date,” said NESO chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya in Guwahati.
KMSS, which had spearheaded the anti-CAA protests last year along with AASU and AJYCP, started their fresh round of protests on Thursday. The organization staged a large protest in Sivasagar on Friday which will be followed by a state-wide protest on Saturday.
Founder of KMSS, Akhil Gogoi, who was arrested on December 12 last year for allegedly fanning violent anti-CAA protests, continues to remain in jail.
AASU’s protests began on Friday with a ‘gana hunkar’ (mass outcry) and torch rallies against the CAA while AJYCP also organised a rally against the legislation.
The anti-CAA protests last year led to curfews across the state and suspension of mobile internet services for 10 days. But thousands defied restrictions and came out to voice opposition to the legislation.
This year, AASU and AJYCP joined hands to form a new political party called Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) while KMSS launched another party called Raijor Dal. Both parties will be contesting the coming assembly polls in March-April next year.
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