Staff Reporter GUWAHATI, Dec 17 - Castigating ruling party leaders for making what he termed “provocative” comments on the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said that such statements were responsible for fanning violence and vandalism during the protests against the Act.
Tarun Gogoi addressing the media. – UB Photos
Addressing a press meet here, Gogoi also lambasted recent comments made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Modi said that the people who are protesting against the CAA can be identified by their clothes. Members of the Assamese diaspora and Assamese students in places like London, USA and other places have protested against the CAA. What does the Prime Minister mean when he talks about dress? Assamese ladies wear mekhela chador. But Assamese men also wear trousers and shirts like all other males. Satradhikars wear traditional dress. The Prime Minister should apologise for saying that Assamese people have protested outside the Indian House in London just like Pakistani protesters do. I condemn such statements. The Prime Minister should apologise,” Gogoi said.
He said the Congress party is against violence and vandalism. “Those who indulged in such deeds during the protests should be punished,” he said.
To the allegation levelled by various ruling party functionaries that Congress incited violence during the protests, Gogoi said RSS and Sangh Parivar elements could be behind such incidents. He alleged that senior BJP leaders, including Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and State party president Ranjeet Kumar Dass, made statements which were “provocative and communal”.
Gogoi accused Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal of failing to protect the interests of Assam and the Assamese people.
“People of Assam have proved that they are united and that they have the fighting spirit. I salute the people of Assam. The movement must be continued along with the legal challenge in the Supreme Court. But the agitation should be totally democratic and peaceful,” said Gogoi.
He said that the CAA is a Central Act and as such a State government cannot reject it outright. But, if the Congress returns to power in Assam in the 2021 Assembly elections, then the party’s government will frame rules to ensure that any person who entered the State after 1971 and who may secure citizenship under the CAA, does not get the right to buy land or apply for government jobs.
The former Chief Minister accused NDA constituent AGP of adopting double standards. “It is the height of drama. First they voted in favour of CAA in the Rajya Sabha. And now they have approached the Supreme Court against the very same Act. What is this?” wondered Gogoi.