The people holding play cards and banners participated in the rally against the CAA organised by AASU. (File image)

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s hometown Dibrugarh on Saturday reverberated with anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) slogans as thousands of protesters gathered at the Government Boys’ HS School ground to join “Janatar Agnikantha” programme.

The people holding play cards and banners participated in the rally against the CAA organised by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU).

All shops, banks, business establishments and private offices remained closed in the town throughout the day while attendance remained thin in government offices.

AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya while speaking at the rally challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union home minister Amit Shah to explain the Centre’s decision to exempt the areas covered under Inner Line Permit (ILP) and Sixth Schedule in the Northeast from the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

“I would like to ask PM Modi and home minister Shah to explain that if CAA is bad for areas covered under Inner Line Permit and Sixth Schedule, then how is it good for the rest of the northeastern states,” Sonowal said.

He said in Assam, seven of the 33 districts come under the purview of Sixth Schedule.

“That means CAA will be implemented in 26 districts while seven districts will be exempted. If CAA is bad for Sixth Scheduled districts how it can be good for the other districts. The Centre should explain this.

“In fact the BJP is following a divide and rule policy to weaken the anti-CAA movement. If the Centre is so keen to implement CAA let them settle all illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat. The people of Assam will never accept CAA,” Bhattacharya said.

“Our language, culture and identity are at stake. The government cannot impose the CAA in Assam by violating the Assam Accord. We would not let this happen because the act is anti-people and undemocratic.

“The government has been dividing people but we would not let this happen in Assam. In other parts of the state in India, CAA protest has been going on but the protest in Assam and other parts of Northeast Eastern state is different from the rest of the country,” said AASU adviser.

AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi in his speech vowed to carry on the anti-CAA movement until the legislation was not rescinded by the government.

“The BJP government is trying to bring division in the anti-CAA movement but the people of Assam are united against CAA. Six persons have died in anti-CAA protests but the government is not concerned. Bullets cannot silence the voice of the people,” Gogoi said.

“It is ironic that the BJP came to power in Assam with the promise of securing ‘jati, mati, bheti’ (race, land and base) of the indigenous people. But now they are trying to sell their own motherland for the sake of votebank politics. The betrayal by Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Sarbananda Sonowal will not be forgotten. People of Assam will give them a befitting reply in time,” the Aasu general secretary said.

Gogoi also accused chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma of trying to mislead and confuse the people of the state over CAA.

Avik Chakraborty

Avik Chakraborty is Northeast Now Correspondent in Dibrugarh. He can be reached at: babs8oct@gmail.com