NEW DELHI: People from the Northeast gathered at Jantar Mantar on Sunday, claiming that the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act were given a Hindu-Muslim colour and the voices from the region fighting for the rights of indigenous people ignored.
The protest called by North East India Unites for Justice and Peace, saw placards demanding release of Assam peasant leader Akhil Gogoi and recitation of poems by protestors.
“This Act threatens the indigenous and tribal communities, religious minorities and migrants. CAA cannot be accepted at any cost. It is not just about Hindu and Muslim but also of other communities. RTI activist Akhil Gogoi has been taken in custody for no reason, he should be released immediately,” said Anny
Bui who lives in Delhi’s Munirka area.
The protesters, including students and civil society members, said they were deeply hurt and distressed by the police “brutality” on those against the CAA, but “our protest is about our rights”.
“We will not let others hijack our agenda. We are here to speak about our people,” Tripura’s royal scion Pradyot Deb Barman, who was also present there, said.
For the people of the north-east, the issue of CAA goes beyond Hindus and Muslims, said 25-year-old Dennis.“In Tripura, indigenous people account for only 30 per cent of the population. People from other regions and neighbouring countries are migrating to the state,” he said.
As day proceeded, people from different youth communities and students joined the demonstration at Jantar Mantar. Songs, slogans disseminating dissatisfaction over CAA echoed from the venue while a group handed out food and refreshment to the protestors. By evening, a large number of police personnel were deployed at Jantar Mantar.