A view of the protest rally. Northeast Now

Along with other parts of the State, the Praktan Chatra Aikya Manch, a body of ex-students, also staged ‘Gana Satyagrah’ at Tezpur in Sonitpur district and took out a huge rally in protest against the much-discussed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 for drawing attention of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) as well as the Central government.

The protesters including former leaders of Asom Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), former members of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), Sonitpur district Mistri Union, Sonitpur district unit of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and Prabajan Virodhi Manch gathered at Collegiate High School field moved throughout the Tezpur town up to the office premises of the Sonitpur Deputy Commissioner.

All the organizations vehemently criticized the BJP-led State government for supporting the move of the Central government to implement the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The protesters shouted slogans like ‘Narendra Modi Hai Hai’, ‘Sarbananda Sonowal Hai Hai.

The protestors terming Bill as a destroyer of the ethnicity, culture and language of the local indigenous people, mentioned that no any further burden of foreigners would be accepted in Assam. The protestors later submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner that was addressed to the JPC.

The district committee of the KMSS also submitted a memorandum separately to the Chairman of JPC where it mentioned, “There is a continuous people’s movement against the Bill. Organisations, individuals and various other platforms have united and opined that this proposed Bill will cause great damage to Assam’s political future and the Government of India should immediately take steps to revoke the Bill from the Parliament.”

Diganta Das, a former AASU leader, speaking to media. Northeast Now

The memorandum, signed by KMSS Sonitpur District President Naba Saikia, stated that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 seeks to make fundamental alterations in the citizenship and immigration norms of India by relaxing the requirements for getting Indian citizenship only on religious grounds.

The Citizenship Bill Act, 1955 ensures that any illegal migrant does not get citizenship , where an “Illegal migrant’ was defined as a person who (i) enters India without a valid passport or with forged documents, or (ii) who stays in the country beyond the visa permit, the organization stated in the memorandum submitted to JPC Chairman through the Sonitpur Deputy Commissioner.

Diganta Das, a former AASU leader, said, “Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal got the title of ‘Jatiyo Nayak’ (national hero) before coming to politics and now we, the ex-students’ body, withdraws his title from today because he has failed to protect the State.”

Pranab Kr Das

Pranab Kumar Das is Northeast Now Correspondent in Tezpur. He can be reached at: kumar.pranab38@gmail.com

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