CHIEF MINISTER Sarbananda Sonowal and his government have failed to protect the interests of the people of the state, the powerful All Assam Students’ Union said on Sunday as it demanded implementation of an Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Assam. It also said that peace can return to the state only when the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is repealed.
“Sarbananda Sonowal and Assam government have failed to protect the interests of Assam. To get votes of illegal Bangladeshis, the government has imposed on us the CAA, which violates the Assam Accord, is against the interest of Assam and the Northeast, is communal and unconstitutional,” AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said at a press meet.
AASU’s general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi warned of protests if Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the state for the Khelo India Youth Games 2020, which Assam will be hosting from January 10. “If PM Narendra Modi comes to the Khelo India event, it is certain that there will be protests,” he said.
The Centre and state government have projected the implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord as an antidote for the CAA. A high-level committee is preparing its report, which will recommend suggestions for implementation of Clause 6 and and the state government has said it will take up the report as soon as it is submitted. But Bhattacharya said, “They are talking about Clause 6 implementation. But Clause 6 was given because we were taking the burden [of migrants] up to 1971. Clause 6 is not for taking the burden from 1971 to 2014.”
He criticised the government for amending the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulations, 1873 — on which the ILP regime is based — and removing the names of Assam’s “districts of Kamrup, Darrang, Nowgong, Sibsagar, Lakhimpur, Naga Hills, Cachar”, and replacing it with the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland. The CAA in its current form exempts these ILP states. Saying that Manipur got ILP recently, Bhattacharya demanded ILP for Assam too.
He said peace can only return to Assam when the CAA is repealed. “You will kill youths by shooting and then talk about peace. Peace can only come when CAA is repealed. Holding peace rallies and walking won’t bring peace,” Bhattacharya said, taking a dig at the BJP’s recent “peace marches” across the state.
On Sunday, the BJP held its fourth peace march at Sualkuchi town. CM Sonowal, Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, state BJP chief Ranjeet Dass and other party leaders addressed the large gathering. Leaders of the BJP ally Asom Gana Parishad — which has approached Supreme Court against the CAA — also attended the rally. Sonowal said the Congress gave shelter to illegal foreigners by amending the citizenship law on earlier occasions. He stressed on how the Centre and the state were working towards developing Assam and asked the gathering what mistake did the BJP commit in the state for which its members were being targeted.