Black flags were waved at Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in Majuli on Monday as protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill continued unabated in the state. The CM arrived at the river island by helicopter in the morning to participate in an official function.
As soon as he landed, the agitators shouted slogans against him and the Union government, demanding the withdrawal of the controversial bill, which seeks to grant nationality to non-muslims who fled religious persecution from three neighbouring countries and entered India before December 31, 2014.
The legislation which was passed by Lok Sabha last week is likely to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha in the Budget session. Several protesters were taken into custody, while others were dispersed by the police.
On Sunday too, Sonowal was shown black flags by protesters of Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) outside Kaziranga University, where he had gone to attend the convocation ceremony.
The AJYCP members also tonsured their heads at Jamugurihat in Sonitpur district to register their protest. Meanwhile, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which pulled out of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state, announced that it will launch a fresh agitation against the bill by taking out a protest rally on January 18 and observing a sit-in with 14 MLAs on January 24.
In Sibsagar district, journalists held a dharna against the bill at Nazira town which was joined by the leader of the opposition in the state assembly Debabrata Saikia and several other prominent members of the society. Students also organised a separate rally against the legislation in Sibsagar.
In Baksa district’s Barama town, non-Bodo organisations blocked National Highway 31, seeking immediate revocation of the bill and ‘Scheduled Tribe’ status. Meanwhile, the Srimanta Sankardeva Sangha, the largest Vaishnava organisation of the state, are divided over the participation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at its annual session in Morigaon from February 6 to 9.
The chairman of the organisation has opined that the PM should not be invited under such circumstances, while its general secretary sought otherwise. Modi, who attended the Sangha’s session at Dergaon last year, has been invited this year too, but the Prime Minister’s Office is yet to confirm his participation.