‘Worried’ Assam BJP MLAs meet CM, urge him to allay public's fear of Citizenship law

Prior to meeting Sonowal, the legislators, numbering around a dozen, held a meeting to discuss the current situation and other issues.
A woman holds a placard during a protest against the Citizenship Act in Gauhati on Thursday. (Photo | AP)
A woman holds a placard during a protest against the Citizenship Act in Gauhati on Thursday. (Photo | AP)

GUWAHATI: Even as the protests against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in Assam continue, a group of ruling BJP legislators urged Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to immediately intervene and allay the fear people had about the amended law.

They met the CM at his official residence and told him that certain comments made by some ministers had aggravated the situation. They said the public anger was such that they had not been able to visit their constituencies and were stranded in Guwahati.

Prior to meeting Sonowal, the legislators, numbering around a dozen, held a meeting to discuss the current situation and other issues.

“We came together and reviewed the situation today (Thursday). We have seen (BJP) MLAs being selectively targeted. So, we exchanged views with the CM. We urged him to take steps for the protection of the land, language and culture of the Assamese,” Sootea MLA Padma Hazarika told journalists after meeting Sonowal.

“The CAA is now sub-judice. We said whatever order the Supreme Court passes, we will welcome it. The Assamese people are worried due to propaganda on the CAA,” he said.

Hazarika said they urged Sonowal for the immediate implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord which was signed after the Assam Agitation of the early 1980s. The clause says: “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people”.

“We urged him to take some strong steps to protect the Assamese and give them constitutional safeguards. We said there shouldn’t be any threat to the Assamese language. We urged him to take some measures so that people feel assured,” Hazarika added.

Another MLA, Prasanta Phukan, said, “We urged the CM to go to Delhi along with (Finance Minister) Himanta Biswa Sarma and meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah to resolve the issue. We are equally worried as we cannot go home”.

Meanwhile, the vice-chancellors (VCs) of some 20 government and private universities of the country appealed to students not to jeopardize their future but help in the maintenance of peace. The appeal was published in local newspapers. The students played a key role in mobilizing public opinions against CAA.

After hearing four PILs for two days, the Gauhati High Court passed an order asking the state government to restore mobile internet services. The court, however, said it was open to the government taking steps to curb the dissemination of “explosive messages or videos” on the social media which could incite violence.

There was no letup in the statewide protests by people and others, including Congress. The artists on Thursday held a protest programme in Guwahati where hundreds of people turned up. The artists, along with All Assam Students’ Union, chalked out a series of programmes to be held on a regular basis. People would take up brush and paint, sing songs and make idols to register their protests on Christmas day.

Meghalaya House passes resolution for ILP

The Meghalaya Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed a resolution, which the state cabinet approved two days ago, to urge the Centre to implement Inner Line Permit (ILP) system in the state. A day-long special session of the Assembly was convened to pass the cabinet’s resolution.

All 60 MLAs voted in favour of the resolution. Chief Minister, Conrad K Sangma, termed it as a “historic day” for the state. As the resolution was introduced in the Assembly, people waited anxiously outside to know the outcome.

The Centre has already cleared the decks for ILP in Manipur and the state’s CM N Biren Singh said it would be implemented by January 1. The ILP is a travel document, currently enforced in the “protected” states of Nagaland, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.

NPF Serves show-cause notices on MPs

Two Naga People’s Front (NPF) MPs have been served showcause notices by the party’s disciplinary action committee for voting in favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which now is a law.

The duo – Rajya Sabha member from Nagaland KG Kenye and Lok Sabha member from Manipur Lorho S Pfoze – have been given seven days time to show cause on why action should not be taken against them. Kenye is also the NPF’s general secretary and Pfoze is a central executive committee member of the party.

“…Hence, it is expected of you to act/vote in consonance with the standing resolutions of the party…In total defiance of the party’s resolutions, you have voted in favour of the CAB/CAA,” the party wrote in the show-cause notices.

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