GUWAHATI: Protestors tonsured their heads, attacked vehicles and blocked the movement of trains as Assam continued to remain on the boil on the issue of contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (CAB).
The protests were staged during two bandhs called by three organisations, two in Upper Assam and one in Lower Assam.
Students of various colleges bunked their classes to stage protests. They said Assam was faced with a grave situation and equated the attack by the BJP vis-à-vis CAB with the Mughals’ invasion of Assam.
After Union Minister Rameswar Teli, BJP MLA Atul Bora had to face the ire of the protestors on Monday when they intercepted his car in Guwahati and grilled him for his silence on the CAB.
Popular Assamese actor Ravi Sarma quit the BJP barely four months after joining it in August. Another well-known actor, Jatin Bora, too hinted at quitting the party. Both said they had climbed the ladders of success due to the love of people and they could not let them down. They said they were opposed to the CAB.
Breaking his silence, Rajya Sabha member and leader of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) Birendra Prasad Baishya said he felt that the CAB was a threat to Assam’s land, language and culture. Two days ago, the students of prestigious Cotton University in Guwahati had put up posters seeking information on the “missing” Baishya.
People, including octogenarians and nonagenarians, came out voluntarily in several parts of the state and staged protests against the Bill. In Guwahati, the influential All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) “dragged” and “hanged” the effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, AGP president Atul Bora and AGP working president Keshab Mahanta.
Elsewhere, the protestors took out “funeral processions” of Sonowal and burnt his effigy and that of other politicians.
The bandhs were total in some districts of Upper and Lower Assam. They, however, had little impact in Guwahati. The protestors burnt tyres and blocked national highways. The police had to resort to lathicharge as the protestors were preventing the movement of vehicles in some places.
Tourists, both foreign and domestic, got stranded at the Kaziranga National Park in the absence of transport.
The North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), which is the region’s apex students’ body, has called for an 11-hour Northeast bandh on Tuesday. Nagaland has been exempted from the purview of the bandh due to ongoing Hornbill Festival there.