Written by Tiyashi Datta
To support ongoing protests against the new citizenship law in Assam and other northeastern states, the Assamese community in Pune urged people to come forward with appeals asking the government to protect the interests of the residents of the Assam valley.
Asomi, an organisation that provides assistance to Assamese community in the city, held a press conference on Saturday, where it voiced its opinion against the Citizenship Amendment Bill that was passed by the Rajya Sabha on December 11, thereby making it a law.
“We are here to express our solidarity with the people of Assam,” said Col (Retd) Tarun C Bora, adviser, Asomi.
“We appeal to the central and state governments to take concrete steps so that the concerns of the Assamese community, their identity, their culture and religious affinity are protected,” Col Bora said.
Talking about how this law was against the interests of the Assamese, Bora said, “The implications of this Act in the Assam valley are a serious concern for the indigenous people of Assam. If this Act, in its present form, is applied in Assam, it will have serious consequences of demographic imbalance, loss of cultural heritage and a day may come when the whole community will be wiped off India’s map.”
Assam is in a state of turmoil as violent protests began days ago, in which two persons were killed. As an organisation, the aim was to take the demands to the concerned authorities in a democratic manner without any violence. “We are planning to send our demands to the MPs to take this matter to the Parliament, irrespective of party affiliations,” said Dr Samiron Phukan, president, Asomi.
Bora also pointed out how the new law goes against Clause 6 of the Assam Accord that assures the protection of land, identity, culture and religious affinity to the people. “With this law, our rights have been diluted,” he said.
According to the organisation, there are almost 20,000 Assamese in Pune, including students and working professionals. Owing to the suspension of the internet in Assam, many people, especially students, are unable to contact their family members. “Our students are concerned. They are scared because they are unable to contact their families back home.”