GUWAHATI: Notwithstanding the risk of communal disharmony due to the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the Assamese and the Bengalis of the Brahmaputra valley stand united against the Central legislation.
Reports of sporadic violence between the two communities came in from upper Assam. At least one person was killed in the violence in Tinsukia town when miscreants torched some shops, on Wednesday night.
However, in Guwahati, at least two Bengali-speaking people were injured in police action when they were protesting against the CAB along with largely Assamese-speaking protestors.
The movement against CAB is driven by the fact that it confers citizenship on people who have entered Assam after March 24, 1971-the cutoff date mentioned in the historic Assam accord. Clause 5 of the accord says people who migrated after March 24, 1971 are to be detected and deported. The NRC was also updated based on this date. However, the CAB protects the non-muslim immigrants who came upto December 31, 2014.
Since a large section of these people happens to be Bengali Hindus, there was a risk of communal disharmony as the Assamese people are wary of more non-Assamese people becoming bonafide residents of Assam. However, the majority of Bengali population in Assam as revealed by the NRC entered Assam before the March 24, 1971 cutoff date. A bulk of this population is now angry that for a handful of fresh entrants, a new law has been enacted that endangers their safety. Many Bengali organisations have come out in protest against the CAB.
Deepak Dey, who is the president of All Assam Bengali Youth Students Federation, suspected that a third party was trying to strain the relationship between the Bengalis and the Assamese. He admitted that the CAB has caused a division between the two communities.