Updated: February 16, 2021 9:13:34 pm
Taking a firm stand on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the Congress on Tuesday announced plans to build a memorial to commemorate those who died in the anti-CAA protests in Assam in December 2019. Several Congress leaders — including MP Gaurav Gogoi, MP Pradyut Bordoloi, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee President, Ripun Bora — took to Twitter to make the announcement.
“In the coming months, Guwahati will see a new landmark: a grand memorial in memory of the anti-CAA movement to be built by the incoming Congress government. This will be the state’s message to BJP. No CAA in Assam,” said Ripun Bora, in an official statement from the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee on Tuesday. The state is expected to go to polls in April.
In the coming months, Guwahati will see a new landmark: a grand memorial in memory of the anti-CAA movement to be built by the incoming Congress government.
— Ripun Bora (@ripunbora) February 16, 2021
The announcement comes a few days after party leader Rahul Gandhi addressed an election rally in Upper Assam’s Sivasagar district, categorically stating that the Congress would not allow the implementation of the controversial law, if elected to power. Gandhi also sported the traditional Assamese ‘gamosa’, with the letters CAA crossed out.
In December 2019, a wave of anti-CAA protests had rocked Assam, leading to the death of five protestors.
While the Congress has taken a hardened stand on the CAA issue, the BJP has largely stayed away from referring to it. However, speaking at a press conference in Guwahati, senior state minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday said that the youth were busy discussing whether or not the state government will launch a scheme to distribute motorcycles among young men, like the one they have for meritorious girl students — “That’s what the topic [of discussion] is… and not the CAA,” Sarma had told reporters.
“They [the BJP] are trying to play it down,” Congress MP Pradyut Bordoloi told The Indian Express. “With CAA, the BJP has not only negated the historic Assam Accord, but is also creating communal tension,” Bordoloi added.
Signed in 1985, the Assam Accord was the culmination of the six-year Assam Agitation against “illegal immigrants” from Bangladesh. While the NRC in Assam uses the same cut-off (1971) as the Assam Accord, the provisions of the CAA extend the date for accepting non-Muslim migrants to December 31, 2014—a measure that has been widely protested in Assam.
“They are trying methodically to throttle Assamese identity by bringing in CAA,” added Bordoloi. The Congress is currently touring the state with its “Axom Basaon Ahok” or “Come Let’s Save Assam” campaign.
In January, the the party formed a ‘grand alliance’ with All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), three left parties CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML),and the regional Anchalik Gana Morcha.
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