* Artistes’ protest on Sunday, demonstrations in front of DC & SDO offices on Dec 16, 17 and 18
GUWAHATI: The people of Assam have raised their united voice even louder from AEI (Assam Engineering College) playground and told the government that the Assamese are strong enough to defy any obstacle that may pose a threat to their motherland, language, literature and culture. The rally, as claimed by AASU (All Assam Students’ Union) general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi, has proved the government wrong that the Assamese are weak.
Led by the AASU, the protesters have decided to continue their agitation till the government rolls back the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) that has already got the ascent of the President of India. Defying the curfew, people from all walks of life started to gather at the AEI Field since this morning. Even people who are confined to wheelchair dared the curfew and made it to the AEI field and joined the protestor.
Addressing the rally, AASU adviser-in-chief Samujjal Bhattacharya said, “With the people of the State joining us, we’re going to fight this battle for a long time. We can’t accept the CAA that has been imposed on us. We won’t accept the CAA even as the President of India has given his ascent to it.”
AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said, “The people of the State proved the government wrong that we are weak. The government mistook us as weak, but we aren’t.”
Speaking at the rally, singer Barnali Kalita squarely questioned the ‘macho pride’ of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on his role on the CAA. Pointing her finger at a lady on wheelchair making it to the AEI field daring the curfew, the singer said that the Chief Minister should be taught a lesson by posting him the bangles worn by this lady. “I fail to understand as to why the government is bent on transforming the CAB into an Act when the people of Assam aren’t ready to shoulder any extra burden of Bangladeshis? We’ll continue our agitation. We aren’t weak, and we’ll come out the winner. The government should not suppose that the people of Assam are weak,” she said.
A crestfallen Malaya Goswami — renowned artiste — said, “We never thought that we’ll confront such a day. For years, Sarbananda Sonowal had led the AASU from the front, with Samujjal Bhattacharya accompanying him. We did shout at that time – Aah Aah Ulai Aah! (an appeal in Assamese for all people to come out for a cause) The sorry state of affairs is that even at this age, we’re here to shout – Aah Aah Ulai Aah! They talk of change. What kind of change is this? If this is change, we don’t need it. The government must know that the Assamese can never be cowed down. The sooner the government realizes it the better for them.”
Prominent artiste Madhurima Choudhury said, “How long will the people of Assam tolerate injustice being meted out to them by the government? Does it test our patience? Defying the curfew, thousands of people have made it to this field to raise their voices against the injustice meted out to them. We’ve proved the government that the people of Assam are not weak!”
Social activist Prof (retd) Deven Dutta said, “I don’t think that this agitation will end here. The government is responsible for those who have been killed and injured in the agitation. They’ve brought Army personnel to Assam. Do they want to browbeat us? Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma should’ve spoken on behalf of the people of the State in the CAB episode. The days aren’t far when we’ll be made to speak Bengali.”
Noted artiste Rabi Sarma said, “The people of Assam have the habit of forgetting. We should never forget what this government has done to us.”
Meanwhile, while the artistes’ fraternity is going to stage their protest – Geete Maate Protibaad (Protest through Songs) – on December 15 with support from the AASU, sit-in demonstrations in front of all government offices (DCs, SDOs and Circle Officers) will be staged on December 16, 17 and 18. Meanwhile, AASU leaders have appealed not to carry out any protest programme after 5 pm.
Prominent artistes Sudakshina Sarma (on wheel chair), Vidya Sagar, Jatin Bora, Manas Robin, Barsharani, Nishita Goswami, Zubeen Garg, Utpal Das, Zublee Baruah and others also spoke at the rally.