The All-Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and 30 other organisations on Saturday called for a state-wide bandh on January 8 to protest against the scheduled tabling of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The development comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing a rally in Silchar, said that his government is committed to passing the Bill.
Addressing the media, AASU president Dipankar Nath said that the Bill will destroy the Assamese community, and it was being tabled in Parliament by completely disregarding sentiments of the people of Assam. On January 7, he said, copies of the Bill will be burnt across villages of Assam, and there would be a state-wide bandh from 5 am to 4 pm the following day.
The North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), which comprises powerful student outfits of the region, has also condemned the Bill and called for a Northeast bandh from 5 am to 4 pm on January 8. “NESO wants the Government of India not to play with the future of indigenous people of the Northeast for vote bank politics,” the organisation said in a statement.
Nath said, “AASU, the 30 (other) organisations and the common people of the state will keep protesting until the Bill is dismissed by the Narendra Modi government. In no way will it be allowed…the Bill is being forced on the people of Assam.”
The Bill proposes to make minority (non-Muslim) immigrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship. As per the 1985 Assam Accord, any person who came to Assam after midnight of March 24, 1971, would be identified as a foreigner.