Fresh anti-CAA protests break out in northeast after nearly 2 years
Protests against the legislation turned violent in the region in December 2019, with five persons being killed in police firing
Several student organisations in the northeast renewed protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on Wednesday, nearly two years after the demonstrations against the legislation hit the pause button.
Many indigenous groups in the region feel CAA — which seeks to grant citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan who entered India prior to December 31, 2014 — will lead to an influx of illegal migrants from bordering Bangladesh.
“We have been firm in our stand that the CAA is against the interests of Assam and other states in the region. But despite our earlier protests, the Centre went ahead and enacted the legislation,” said Samuel Jyrwa, president of North East Students Union (NESO), the umbrella body of all student organisations in the region.
“On Wednesday, we will organise non-violent sit-in demonstrations in all state capitals of the region against CAA and other issues such as the promulgation of inner-line permit regime in Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura — states that have borne the maximum brunt of illegal immigrations,” he added.
Wednesday’s protest comes in the backdrop of Union home minister Amit Shah’s remarks earlier this month, during an interaction with a BJP delegation from West Bengal, that CAA will be implemented once Covid-19 vaccinations are over in India.
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“India is a democratic country and everyone has the right to protest. It will remain to be seen how people react to the fresh protests. I hope the public don’t get swayed by emotions and indulge in disruptive and violent acts (like previous anti-CAA) protests,” Assam BJP chief Bhabesh Kalita said.
The police in Assam appealed to student organisations to refrain from protests and instead indulge in development activities.
“We are ready to tackle the protests. The state is witnessing an atmosphere of development and we shouldn’t disrupt it with protests. We saw the damage caused during the 2019 protests. I appeal to people to refrain from violent protests,” special DGP (law and order) GP Singh told journalists on Tuesday.
Protests against the legislation turned violent in the region in December 2019, with five persons being killed in police firing. In December 2020, 18 organisations took out fresh protests, but that fizzled out.