Demanding immediate repeal of the contentious citizenship act, AASU chief adviser Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya said the organisation will observe all the actions of the government to deviate peoples' attention from the movement.
Intensifying its agitation against the amended Citizenship Act, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) on Sunday said a “massive protest” will be organised if Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes to inaugurate the ‘Khelo India’ games on January 10 in the state capital. Addressing a press conference, AASU leadership said the organisation is keeping a “close watch” on the forthcoming T20 match between India and Sri Lanka on January 5 in Guwahati and the ‘Khelo India’ games scheduled from January 10 to 22, 2020.
“After the Citizenship (Amendment) Act was passed, the prime minister is likely to visit Assam for the first time. If he visits for the ‘Khelo India’, there will be a massive protest,” AASU president Dipanka Kumar Nath said. He, however, did not elaborate and said details will be shared in coming days after getting confirmation of Modi’s visit to the state capital.
“Modi and the BJP are planning to destroy Assam and we will not sit idle. The struggle against the CAA will be a long one. We are fighting a legal battle in the Supreme Court and we have full faith in it. Democratic protests will go on simultaneously,” Nath said.
Demanding immediate repeal of the contentious Citizenship Act, AASU chief adviser Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya said the organisation will observe all the actions of the government to deviate peoples’ attention from the movement. “There are two games happening in Guwahati in the coming days. The first one is the cricket match on January 5 and then ‘Khelo India’. We are keeping a close watch on both,” he added. When asked repeatedly what he meant by “close watch”, Bhattacharya said, “We will inform in due course of time”.
The student leader also asked Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to disclose the source of his statement that only a “negligible” number of illegal Hindu Bangladeshis will be benefitted by the CAA in the state. On December 14, Sonowal had said that people benefitting by the amended Citizenship Act will be “very negligible” in number and the exact number of people will be disclosed at an appropriate time.
AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi questioned Assam Finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for quoting different figures of illegal Hindu Bangladeshis residing in the state from the National Register of Citizens (NRC). “The government is giving misleading figures like four lakh, five lakh and 10 lakh. They are saying that they got this number from the NRC,” he said.
Demanding a probe into the matter, Nath said, the Supreme Court had clearly barred the NRC Authority from sharing any data and if the state government is actually quoting the figures from the NRC, then some officials “must be leaking data”. Claiming that a maximum of 5.42 lakh people in the state will benefit from the amended Citizenship Act, Sarma had said on December 16 that the figure was arrived at after assessing the number of persons rejected from the NRC, which excluded over 19 lakh people in its final list published on August 31.
At a press conference on November 20, the day when Union Home Minister Amit Shah had announced to have a country-wide NRC in the Rajya Sabha, Sarma had said that the state government had requested the Centre to reject the NRC. To safeguard the interest of the people, Bhattacharya demanded Inner-Line Permit (ILP) for Assam like it has been granted to Manipur and Meghalaya.
“We want safeguards for the indigenous people from all illegal immigrants. It does not matter if the illegal Bangladeshi is a Hindu or Muslim. Religion does not matter. “We will not accept a single illegal person coming after March 24, 1971,” he added.
The AASU leadership announced a series of agitational programmes along with 30 other indigenous groups across the state till January 17 and appealed to people to join them in large numbers.