An open public meeting (Raijmel), organized by the management of Dainik Janambhumi, one of the pioneer Assamese vernacular dailies in collaboration with Darrang Zila Sahitya Sabha at the Sahitya Sabha Bhawan in Mangaldai under Darrang district on Saturday, vehemently opposed the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016.
During the public meeting, it was also demanded that there should not be any delay in publication of the final draft National Register of Citizens (NRC) which has been scheduled for June 30, 2018.
The meeting was attended by representatives of more than 20 non-political local public bodies including AJYCP, AASU, Senior Citizens’ Forum, Karmachari Parishad, Bengali Yuva Chatra Federation, Goria-Moria Deshi Jatiya Parishad, Krishak Sangha, Lekhika Samaroh, Lekhika Sanstha, Chambers of Commerce, Mangaldai Media Circle.
During the meeting, the speakers termed the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill as a fatal Bill for the Assamese culture and language and passed a unanimous resolution against it.
The meeting also passed a resolution demanding the State NRC authority not to delay the publication of the final draft NRC in the pretext of the flood which has affected only a few districts and ensure its publication on June 30 next, the scheduled date as announced by the Supreme Court earlier.
The meeting presided over by Dr Ram Chandra Deka, president, Darrang Zila Sahitya Sabha, was addressed by several veteran and young speakers including Dr Nagendra Nath Sarma, Phulendra Nath Saharia, Dr Jamaluddin Ahmed, Lohit Ch Kalita, Sahir Bhuya, Bhabesh Kalita, Khanindra Rajbongshi and Shahnawaz Ahmed.
Dr Nagendra Nath Sarma, a veteran educationist, writer, thinker and the president of the All Assam Ex-MLA Sanmilani in his speech underlined how the small population of around 30,000 Hindus have been facing harassment and they have been forced to wear only yellow clothes for their identification.
He expressed doubt whether the Centre would bow down before the protest of about one crore people of Assam. Strongly criticizing the role of all the 20 MPs representing the State both in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, Dr Sarma at the same time urged the people to put pressure on the Centre for inclusion of a special provision in the Bill so that even if the Bill is passed, Assam and the Northeast would not have to bear the burden of the non-Muslim refugees.
The speakers also discussed many other issues like the average percentage of Assamese-speaking people in the State recorded in the last census as nearly 48 pc and its downward trend in each subsequent census on the other hand, the increase of average Bengali-speaking people from 21 to 27 pc in last two census.
During the meeting, the speakers also highlighted the negligence towards the implementation of the official language even in the public signboards of the Deputy Commissioners’ offices in the districts of Barak Valley, issuance of work permits for the people whose names would not be included in the NRC, maintaining peace, harmony and brotherhood among all the communities and religions living in the State like before and developing work culture among the Assamese people.
All the speakers equally criticized both the BJP and the Congress parties alleging them of playing with the sentiments of the people of the State only for their political gain.
The meeting which began with a welcome address by Mukut Ch Hazarika, secretary, Darrang Zila Sahitya Sabha while news editor of Dainik Janambhumi, Guwahati explained the objectives of organizing such Raijmel.