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Protest by 29 organisations shifts to Dispur

Members of AASU and 28 ethnic organisations taking out a rally against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in Guwahati on Thursday. – AT photo
 GUWAHATI, Nov 8 - Members of 29 organisations, including the All Assam Students Union (AASU), today assembled at Dispur seeking immediate steps from the State government for withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Foreigners (Amendment) Rules, Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules and the rule to provide long-term visa for migrants.

The protest meeting, held at Ganesh Udyan adjacent to the Dispur secretariat campus, followed by a protest march where thousands of students and youths coming from various parts of the State took part. Police, however, stopped the rally in the Dispur Last Gate area.

The leaders of 29 organisations vowed to carry out large scale protest at Dispur in the near future if the State government remained inactive to their demands.

Earlier, addressing the gathering, the leaders asked Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and the BJP-led State government to make their stand clear on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

“The protest of Latasil and Chandmari has now shifted to Dispur. It is because of the indifferent attitude of the State government to our demands. Today, we have come to Dispur to warn the government and all the MLAs. It’s time Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal made his stand clear,” AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said while addressing the gathering.

Urging Sonowal to follow the path of Meghalaya government, Bhattacharya said, “Even after massive protest against the citizenship Bill, the BJP-led State government has not taken any step. On the other hand, the Meghalaya government, where the BJP is also a coalition partner, opposed the Bill by taking a cabinet decision. It is for the Assam government to follow the path of Meghalaya.”

Criticizing the ruling BJP, he said, “The party had marked the last election as the last battle of Saraighat. But they had fought the battle to welcome illegal migrants. If they don’t respond to the voice of indigenous people then the situation will become worse soon.”

AASU president Dipanka Kumar Nath said, “If the government does not respond to our demands, then very soon we will gherao the Dispur capital area and restrict movement of all the MLAs. There is only little time left for the State government to take a decision, because already the movement of Latasil has shifted to Dispur.”

“The BJP-led State and Central governments have taken a communal stand and are trying to divide the Assamese society on the basis of religion and language. The government is also providing security to party MLAs and leaders who had made communal statements in the past few days,” he added.

Urging Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to wake up, AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said the State government should make its stand clear on whether they stand for the indigenous people of Assam or the illegal migrants. “It’s time Sarbananda Sonowal recalled his pre-election assurances,” he said.

From tomorrow, delegations of these 29 organisations will start meeting the State’s MLAs, MPs and their families in their residences while requesting them to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Foreigners (Amendment) Rules, Passport (Entry into India) Amendment Rules and the rule to provide long-term visa for migrants.

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