Citizenship (Amendment) Bill
NESO activists during a sit-in-demonstration against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Guwahati. File Photo.

The Northeast Students’ Organisation (NESO), led by its adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya on Saturday staged a sit-in-demonstration here against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

NESO, a conglomerate of students’ organisations from the Northeast including the All Assam Students’ Union, Khasi Students’ Union, Naga Students’ Federation, Garo Students’ Union, All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union, during the protest near Dighalipukhuri of the city, demanded scrapping of the controversial bill.

Interestingly, the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity (KMSS) chief Akhil Gogoi, with whom AASU has huge ideological difference, also joined the protest. This is for the first time presents’ leader Gogoi has chaired dais with the AASU leadership.

AASU president Dipanka Kumar Nath and general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi and other leaders of other northeastern student bodies took part in the demonstration.

NESO adviser Bhattacharyya said the proposed bill would turn the Northeast into a “dumping ground” for illegal migrants which could never be accepted by the people of the region.

The bill seeks to grant citizenship to ‘persecuted’ Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31, 2014.

AASU, which is a part of the NESO, faced flak from different quarters for its alleged passive role against the bill.

Few individuals and organisations even staged a protest against the influential students’ body as the leaders of the organisation skipped the public hearing in Guwahati on May 7 being conducted by the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

The NESO, led by its chairman Samuel B. Jyrwa and adviser Samujjal Bhattacharyya, however, met the JPC and submitted a petition against the bill during the public hearing in Shillong on Friday.

NESO will also hold protests against the bill in all North-eastern states on May 21 besides asking chief ministers of all the seven states to follow the example set by Meghalaya Government.

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