BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, March 6: In an unprecedented development with serious implications for the State, a rally taken out by a Bengali Hindu refugees organization at Silapathar in Dhemaji district on Monday went out of control with rowdy elements attacking the local office of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and ransacking it.
As per reports, members of Nikhil Bharat Bangali Udbastu Samanvay Samiti (NIBBUSS) held a meeting at Silapather in which some State and national level leaders of the Bengali Hindu community took part. In the meeting, problems faced by the community including the ‘D’ voter issue were discussed. The participants in the meeting reportedly rejected the Assam Accord and talked in favour of the proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill planned to be introduced by the Central government.
The speakers in the meeting also demanded that citizenship to all Bengali Hindus in the State be given forthwith, and there should be an immediate end to their harassment as ‘foreign nationals’.
After the meeting, the participants led by NIBBUSS took out a rally. But while passing in front of the AASU office in Silapather, some angry protesters ransacked it, forcing the police to fire teargas and baton charge the protesters. Tension was still prevailing in the area till the time of filing of this report.
Meanwhile, AASU advisor Dr Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharyya in a strongly–worded reaction warned that such incidents will not be tolerated. He demanded that the State government should get the culprits behind Monday’s incident arrested forthwith or else ‘the consequences will be severe’.
“The foreigners problem the State has been saddled with must be solved only on the basis of the Assam Accord. Religion has nothing to do with it. The indigenous people must call the shots in Assam, not Bangladeshis,” said Bhattacharyya, adding, “The present ruling dispensation in the State came to power with the promise to safeguard the interests of indigenous people. After today’s incident, we will closely watch what steps this government takes in the coming days.”
AASU president Dipanka Kumar Nath said, “Due to indulgence from the BJP government, such groups are getting the opportunity to flex their muscles. The Central government’s plan to give citizenship to Bengali Hindus has emboldened them to react in a violent way. We oppose the Citizenship Amendment Bill tooth and nail and those (Hindus or Muslims) who came to the State after March 25, 1971 should go back to their countries of origin.”
The AASU leaders have threatened to launch a statewide agitation if the culprits are not apprehended in the next 24 hours.
Meanwhile, the Axom Yuva Parishad, the Axom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chattra Parishad, the Gorkha Chattra Sanstha, the ATASU, the Tribal Sangha, the AAMSU, the pro–talk faction of the ULFA and several other organizations have condemned the attack on the AASU office at Silapather. In another incident, 3 shops owned by persons from the Bengali community were ransacked in Golaghat district on Monday. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal instructed the State Police to nab the culprits who were behind the attack on the AASU office at Silapather.