GUWAHATI: Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday had to face the wrath of members of All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) which is staging protests across the state against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Around 200 AASU volunteers gheraoed the CM’s private residence in Dibrugarh for some time until they were dispersed by the police and security personnel who also ensured his safe passage to the helipad.
The protestors slammed Sonowal for his “meek surrender” before the Central government on the issue of the Bill. They alleged he remained silent to save his chair and criticised him for using force to thwart a “democratic” movement.
In Guwahati, unknown protestors put up posters with messages against the Bill outside the private residences of the CM’s media advisor Hrishikesh Goswami and legal advisor Santanu Bharali.
Protests, in the form of bicycle and bike rallies, were also staged elsewhere by members of the AASU and other organisations to create awareness among the state’s rural populace against the Bill.
In Dibrugarh, the Dibrugarh University Post Graduate Students’ Union (DUPGSU) banned the entry of any member of the ruling BJP, including Sonowal, into the campus in protest against the Bill.
The students said the Bill, if passed, would harm the Assamese and other indigenous communities.
The students’ body said it would keep opposing Sonowal’s entry into the varsity as long as the Bill was not withdrawn.
On Sunday, the students of prestigious Cotton University in Guwahati had staged a protest outside the head office of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) which is BJP’s ally.
Three-time former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi alleged the BJP was diverting the attention of people from various other issues by talking solely about Citizenship Bill and country-wide National Register of Citizens (NRC). His party, Congress, has already taken a position against both issues.
By passing the Citizenship Bill, the Centre seeks to grant Indian citizenship to “persecuted” non-Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who migrated to India till December 31, 2014. For over half a century, Assam has borne the brunt of illegal migration of the Bangladeshis.