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Sons of the soil bent on sustained agitation

GUWAHATI, May 22: The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and 28 other ethnic organizations of the State on Tuesday announced the launch of a series of agitations in the State as well outside the State to mount sustained pressure on the Centre to withdraw the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

Representatives of the 28 ethnic organizations, who held a day-long meeting with the AASU here on Tuesday, said they will continue with their agitation until the BJP-led government at the Centre withdraws the Bill, which, according to them, is not only anti-indigenous but also communal in nature. They warned the Centre that there will be dangerous consequences if the government goes ahead to grant citizenship to illegal Bangladeshis on the basis of religion.

As per the initial agitational programmes chalked at Tuesday’s meeting between the AASU and the 28 ethnic organizations, they will resort to an 11-hour gana anashan (mass fasting) on May 29. The next phase of agitation will be fixed when the organizations’ leaders once again meet for another round of discussion on June 2. The ethnic leaders have named their agitation as Swadeshir Aandolan Bidexir Biroddhe.

All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) president Pramod Boro said his organization has serious doubts whether the Bill has been brought for the country’s interest or for groups or individuals with vested interests. He said if the present regime in Delhi was so concerned about the plight of Hindus in neighbouring Bangladesh, it should have raised the issue at the UN to gather international support for the cause of Hindus. “But instead of doing that, the Centre is trying hard to dump Hindu Bangladeshis in Assam. So why should remain silent? We won’t tolerate this Bill under any circumstance,” Boro said.

Tribal Sangha general secretary Aditya Khakhlari, while questioning the Sarbananda Sonowal government’s stoic silence on the Bill, said Dispur must follow the Meghalaya Government’s example as it has vehemently opposed the Bill.

AASU chief adviser Sammujal Bhattacharjya said the proposed “anti-indigenous and anti-Constitutional” legislation will threaten the existence, identity, language and culture of the indigenous people. He said the Bill is a blatant violation of the historic Assam Accord.

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Ankur Kalita