Several groups opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 on Monday observed a ‘Black day’ in protest against the move of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 to table its report to the Lok Sabha.
While influential All Assam Students Union (AASU) and 30 other ethnic groups burnt the copies of the Bill in different places of Assam to register their protest, over 70 other organisations under the leadership of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), hoisted black flags in different parts of the state.
One AJYCP member stood nude protest in Tinsukia town shouting slogans against the Bill and the JPC’s move to table the report.
A citizens’ group led by scholar Hiren Gohain observed Dhikkar Divas (Condemnation Day) in Guwahati as a mark of protest against the controversial Bill.
Gohain hoisted the black flag in a programme at Guwahati Club and started the protest programme.
“Today we have observed Condemnation Day as a mark of protest against the policies of the BJP government. BJP has divided the people of our country on the basis of religion. They have played with the sentiments of the people of Assam,” Gogoi said.
He also slammed Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal for his silence on the issue.
The Gauhati University Teachers’ Association (GUTA) also staged demonstration at the university campus against the Bill.
AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya said the Bill will make the indigenous people a minority in their own land.
“We have observed the day as ‘Black day’. The Citizenship Bill has not only threatened the existence of indigenous communities of Assam but also make the indigenous people a minority in their own land. The BJP has failed to understand the sentiments of the people of the state. We are going to fight till the Bill is scrapped,” Bhattacharyya said.
KMSS chief Akhil Gogoi said that they will continue their protest until the Bill is withdrawn.
“Through the Bill, the BJP wants to win the Lok Sabha polls. We have already started a movement against this and will continue until the Bill is withdrawn,” Gogoi said.
There have been protests in Assam over the Citizenship Bill since last year when the members of the JPC visited Assam to seek public opinion over the Bill.
The movement has been intensified from January 4 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a public rally in Silchar said that the Citizenship Bill would be passed by Parliament soon.
While AASU and other groups staged protests on Monday, the North East Students Organization (NESO) — an umbrella organisations of students bodies of all the northeastern states — has called for a total shutdown on Tuesday.