Protests against the Citizenship Bill in Assam intensified as 30 indigenous groups led by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) organised a public rally on Wednesday in Guwahati. The passage of the bill has triggered protests across the Northeast, particularly Assam, where people expressed fears of mass migration from Bangladesh.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India even if they do not possess any document.
Amid escalating protests, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was shown black flags on Tuesday. Students also held a two-hour ‘Gana Hartaal’ against the Bill in Sivasagar and stripped themselves partially, while all shops were closed and vehicles were off the road during that period.
Massive rally organised in Assam in protest of the Citizenship Bill. Follow LIVE UPDATES
Kalpana, 72, remembers taking part in the Assam agitation of 1979
A 72-years-old woman at the AASU protest in Guwahati says she also took part in the Assam Agitation of 1979.
72-year-old Kalpana Borthakur, at the AASU protest in Guwahati. She remembers taking part in the Assam Agitation of 1979. “I took part in all the protests then and I will protest now too. A govt is elected to bring peace. What kind of peace is this?” @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/MQxymUbJoG— Tora Agarwala (@toramatix) January 23, 2019
Guwahati: People play traditional cymbals while taking part AASU's mass agitation
WATCH | Singer Zubeen Garg arrives at the AASU protest
WATCH | Singer Zubeen Garg arrives at the AASU protest. He sang his new song, which he composed specifically to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
Singer Zubeen Garg arrives at the AASU protest; sings his new song, composed specifically to oppose the #CitizenshipAmendmentBill: “Politics nokoriba, bandhu/ Don’t do politics, my friend” @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/GBEqKeVK6s— Tora Agarwala (@toramatix) January 23, 2019
Mizoram faces Citizenship Bill protests as thousands hit streets
Thousands of people, including students, came on the streets across different places in Mizoram on Wednesday to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, reports PTI. Effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh were torched, as protesters took out rallies from here, seven district headquarters and at over 50 other places. Raising slogans and carrying placards, the agitators demanded the resignation of the PM and the home minister, alleging that the controversial bill will endanger the very existence of the Mizos.
The rally was organised by the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) or Mizo students federation, which had also organised an 11-hour, state-wide bandh on January 8. MZP president said if the bill is passed, it would lead to the "total alienation of the Mizo people".
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India even if they do not possess any document.
Celebrities extend support to Citizenship Bill protests
Assamese singer Zubeen Garg threatened to launch an agitation if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was not withdrawn, he has held good on his promise. Garg wrote on Facebook: “Can I get the votes back that you earned using my voice in 2016?”
Filmmaker Rima Das, singers like Angaraag Mahanta (better known as Papon) as well as Bipin Chowdang, Neel Akash, Kusum Kailash have all made public their views on the Bill. Chowdang, Akash and Kailash took part in the protest against the Bill in Dibrugarh, singing songs of Bhupen Hazarika.
Amid protests, Centre says state's consent essential for citizenship
With opposition mounting against the Citizenship Bill, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sought to allay fears among people and said foreigners would not be granted Indian citizenship without the consent of state governments concerned. The MHA also said that a proposal to “provide incentives to those people who want to settle anywhere in India, except the North East” is currently under consideration. Read more
Citizenship Bill protests: 5,000 people gather in Guwahati
Bill will make it problematic for BJP to go around freely: AASU General Secretary
Addressing the crowd, AASU General Secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi warned against implementing the Bill saying it would make it "problematic for BJP leaders and workers to go around freely." He also said that Assam has always belonged to indigenous people, and in the future too it will belong to the indigenous.
Welcome to the live blog. A massive rally has been organised by AASU and 30 indigenous groups against the Citizenship Amendment Bill. The rally is organised in Guwahati’s Latasil. Follow this space as we track the latest development from Assam