The Northeast saw several protests on Monday against the citizenship amendment Bill, scheduled to be tabled in Parliament this session, with students’ bodies staging sit-in demonstrations and marches against the proposed legislation.
A series of protests have been lined by socio-political groups in the Northeast.
In Guwahati, students under the banner of the All Assam Students’ Union marched from its office to the Governor’s residence and submitted a memorandum addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighting why they oppose the Bill.
“The CAB violates the Assam Accord. The BJP had promised in its Vision Document, based on which they had won the elections in Assam, that they will implement the Assam Accord in letter and spirit — the CAB is against that also. Nobody is appreciating Assam for accepting migrants from 1948 (the cut-off date for elsewhere in the country) to 1971. Now they want us to take the load of 1971 to 2014 and beyond. They need illegal Bangladeshis for their vote bank. We will not accept this,” Samujjal Bhattacharya, advisor to AASU, told The Indian Express.
The North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), a conglomeration of top students’ bodies across the Northeast, held protests in all seven states, Bhattacharya said. “They are submitting memoranda to the governors,” he added.
The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYYCP) will also be holding protests later this week in Assam.
In Manipur, the Manipur People Against Citizenship Amendment Bill has called for a shutdown from November 18 midnight and the state government has ordered all its offices including educational institutions to remain open.
In Arunachal Pradesh, the Consultative Committee on the CAB headed by state Home Minister Bamang Felix submitted a report to the state government on Monday and the cabinet held a “threadbare discussion” on the report, a press release said.
“Considering the sensitivity of the issue, it was decided to have a final discussion with all stakeholders together and forward the recommendations to MHA,” the statement said. The final consultative meeting with all stakeholders under the chairmanship of Felix will be held on November 20.
The Bill proposes to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, by relaxing eligibility rules for an immigrant — belonging to six minority (non-Muslim) religions, such as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan — in getting Indian citizenship. Powerful groups and large sections of society in the Northeast hold the Bill as a “threat” to indigenous communities of the region.