EDITORIAL

Inciting secession?

citizenship

A distinguished and leading citizen of Assam, while opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, has reportedly made a very dangerous statement a couple of days ago, one that has made big headlines in the media. He has been quoted by several Guwahati-based newspapers as saying that the people of Assam would have to raise the demand for independence if the Centre did not listen to them. One leading newspaper has quoted him ad verbatim as follows – ‘It is a fight to save the secular character of the great Indian democracy. We will have to continue this movement under any circumstances. But, I no one hers us and responds to our demand, then we will have to raise the demand for an independent Assam.’ This statement of the particular leading citizen, a former professor of Gauhati University who had sternly opposed the AASU movement and had almost nearly denied that there had been any infiltration from East Pakistan/Bangladesh, is not acceptable to the people of Assam. The people of Assam have time and again proved that they are not in favour of seceding from India. The people of Assam had fought bravely under the leadership of Lokapriya Gopinath Bardoloi to prevent Jinnah and his Muslim League from snatching the province away and making a part of Pakistan. The people of Assam have opposed and said a big NO to the likes of Paresh Barua, Arabinda Rajkhow and Anup Chetia who continue to live in the early Nineteenth century when the Yandaboo Treaty was signed. The people of Assam had played a very significant role and made immense contribution to the freedom struggle of India. The people of Assam had overwhelmingly condemned the ULFA when Paresh Barua, Arabinda Rajkhowa and Company had massacred twelve little innocent children when they had gone to participate in the Independence Day celebration in Dhemaji about 14 years ago. The people of Assam had only recently started heaving a sigh of great relief that insurgency had gradually become a thing of the past. The people of Assam have only recently started feeling safer now that extortion, abduction, explosions and killings were gradually beginning to become history. The people of Assam have gradually decided to forget the ugly period when the ULFA, NDFB and other such armed insurgent groups had held sway over the state. Yet, it is during such a crucial moment of history of the long struggle of survival for the Assamese and other indigenous communities of the state, that this distinguished and leading intellectual has reportedly made such a dangerous statement. The people of Assam definitely do not approve of this. The people of Assam definitely do not appreciate what this distinguished and leading intellectual has reportedly said. Assam is definitely an inseparable part of this great country. And, as Bhupen Hazarika had said way back in the 1970s, ‘ami asamiya, ami bhaal bharatiya’ – We, the Assamese are good Indians.