With the Lok Sabha passing the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) and Union Home Minister Amit Shah promising a nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC), the two measures have ended up making the people of Assam and Tripura, in particular, angry. The region has been under a blanket 11-hour bandh called by the North East Students Union (NESO). The intensifying protests have seen people blocking traffic on several key roads by burning tyres and other inflammable material. The NESO activists were trying hard to march on the residence of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, since the people are irate at the BJP’s bulldozing the Bill through Parliament even though people have been vociferous in their protest against the legislation.
The CAB seeks to allow citizenship to Sikhs, Hindu, Jains, Christians, Buddhists, and Parsis, primarily non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who migrated to India till December 31, 2014. It is noteworthy that while the Bill excludes Muslims, the people of Assam and Tripura have been up in arms at any attempt to even allow any immigrant in their state. The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha by 311-80 votes on Monday midnight.
Tuesday morning saw protesters blocking roads, burning tyres and raising the slogan “Go Back CAB”. The All Assam Student Union (AASU) has joined forces with the NESO, the Congress and the All India United Democratic Front of Badruddin Ajmal for the protest.
Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi told reporters that the situation in Assam is going from bad to worse and added that the youth of Assam are already dealing with unemployment. The CAB is now creating a new divide between Hindus and Muslims, Gogoi said.
AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said Assam is not the dustbin for illegal immigrants and added the BJP is hellbent on bringing the Bill just because of the numbers it has in Parliament. He said they will not accept the Bill and continue protests.
The Assam Pollice urged people in a tweet to not believe in hate messages or fake news and has requested them to maintain peace as people are attempting to spread hate and fake news regarding the CAB. In view of the protest against CAB, police security has been tightened across the state.
In Tripura, 17 teachers were injured by anti-CAB protesters when they were heading to conduct Class 10 and 12 examinations. The government has also shut down the internet and mobile internet for the next 48 hours. In Manipur, CM N Biren Singh thanked Amit Shah for announcing an Inner Line Permit System for the state which will shield it from CAB. The state had been on the tenterhook over CAB and the impending Naga settlement. The bandh was also observed in Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, which already have the Inner Line Permit system.