Sanbor Shullai with Prahlad Patel
BJP MLA Sanbor Shullai (third from right) along with Meghalaya BJP leaders hand over a memorandum to Union tourism and culture minister, Prahlad Singh Patel in New Delhi on Tuesday. Image credit – Northeast Now

The Northeastern Universities students’ fraternity has declared a total shutdown of all the universities and colleges in Northeast India on Wednesday (January 22, 2020).

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will conduct hearing on the petitions filed in the apex court challenging the validity of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019.

The Northeastern Universities students’ fraternity hopes during the hearing, the Supreme Court will address the “unconstitutional and contentious Citizenship Amendment Act and its ill repercussions on the indigenous masses of North Eastern states”.

The universities in the Northeast include Gauhati University, Dibrugarh University, North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Tezpur University, Assam Women’s University (AWU), Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Nagaland University, Rajiv Gandhi University, and NERIST.

Along with other organizations including All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), the students from most of the universities and colleges across the Northeast have been raising their voice against the CAA.

Amid massive protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019, it was passed by the Parliament and it became an Act after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to it on December 12, 2019.

Ignoring the anti-CAA protests and prior to the Supreme Court’s verdict on the validity of the Act, which has been termed by the protestors as “discriminatory” and “unconstitutional”, the central government notified the CAA on January 10.

According to the CAA, 2019, non-Muslim minorities — Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian — who migrated to India from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh till December 31, 2014, following persecution over their faith, are eligible for Indian citizenship.

On December 18, 2019, the apex court had issued a notice to the Centre and sought its response by the second week of January on a batch of petitions challenging the CAA’s legality.

The Supreme Court has fixed January 22 for hearing the anti-CAA petitions, including those filed by the AASU, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.

RJD leader Manoj Jha, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi have also filed pleas against the new citizenship law.


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