GUWAHATI: Refuting AASU's claims that the BJP had orchestrated the attacks on its members at Nalbari two days back, the saffron party's state unit on Tuesday accused the opposition Congress to be behind the incident.
Several All Assam Students' Union (AASU) activists were attacked while they were protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill during Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal's visit to Nalbari on January 27.
Addressing a press conference here, Assam BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass showed pictures of Congress personnel being present among the AASU protestors on that day.
"The Congress was involved in the Ghograpara incident in Nalbari district. We have evidence of Congress being involved in it," he said.
Dass claimed that Congress is engaging in such incidents with a malafide intention to spoil AASU's name and ruin its image.
"They want to create a rift between the BJP and AASU. The Congress wants to ruin the image of AASU," Dass claimed.
Showing pictures to prove his allegations, the BJP state chief identified one Abdul Ali, who is the president of Ghograpara Block Congress, to be among the AASU protestors.
Dass also identified five others -- Nalbari Congress vice president Sarat Kalita, general secretary Lutfur Rahman, spokesperson Khanin Lahkar, Nalbari Youth Congress president Gyandeep Kalita, and general secretary Moidul Islam -- among the protestors.
"The Congress workers had come with sticks and stones and attacked the AASU activists. The AASU will never protest with sticks. It was Ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma and Chandra Mohan Patowary who controlled the situation from getting out of control," he claimed.
He urged the district administration and AASU to investigate the incident.
BJP workers and AASU activists had allegedly clashed when the students' organisations were protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill during a bike rally taken out by the saffron party workers to escort Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Industry Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary who had gone to Nalbari for the foundation stone laying of a hospital by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
AASU, however, has alleged that its members were stopped and attacked by the BJP workers with sticks and stones and carried the violence to the police station too.
The AASU, which had yesterday staged 'black flag' protests across Assam against the alleged attack, today blocked the National Highways across the state for one hour against the "autocracy of the BJP government" and demanding punishment for the guilty.
Thousands of AASU members waving flags and banners staged demonstrations and blocked National Highways across the state.
They also blocked NH-37 at Basishtha Chariali in Guwahati. Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition in Assam Assembly and Congress leader Debabrata Saikia has written to Nalbari Superintendent of Police on Tuesday clarifying about the alleged involvement of two Congress workers during the black flag demonstration by AASU and scuffles that allegedly broke out between the student organisation and BJP supporters in Nalbari.
On the alleged involvement of Congress workers Gyandeep Kalita and Maidul Ali, Saikia claimed that though they were present at the site of the incident in the morning, subsequently they left the spot and accompanied him to Barpeta where Saikia attended a public meeting.
"We came to know about the incident in Barpeta. Ali and Kalita also shared lunch with me in Howli. I finally dropped them off in Nalbari at around 6 pm. In short, both Kalita and Ali were not present in Nalbari at the time the incident occurred, and I can vouch for it," Saikia wrote.
He said the allegations leveled against Kalita and Ali by the state president of the BJP is entirely false and motivated.
"I have alerted you as to the reality so that you do not proceed against the duo on the basis of flimsy charges," Saikia wrote to the SP.
AASUs chief advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya told reporters that both the state government and the ruling BJP would have to pay dearly for trying to dominate a democratic movement forcefully.
Meanwhile, on the citizenship bill, the BJP state chief appealed the public, irrespective of language, religion and ethnicity, not to get emotional but analyse the bill and understand what it is and what will be its impact.
"AASU has the right to protest against the bill as they were involved in the Assam movement. But others are creating unrest by talking about Assam's separation from India and creating a French Revolution-like situation," Dass said.
"The Citizenship Bill is for the entire country. The Lok Sabha passed it. Now, it is in Rajya Sabha with the Opposition there against it. BJP wants the bill to be an Act which has been amended only to reduce the stay in India for obtaining Indian citizenship to six years from the existing 12 years," he said.
The controversial bill, passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document.