GUWAHATI: Popular Assamese singer Zubeen Garg on Sunday made a call for the formation of a new political party in Assam. It was instantly backed by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) which has been spearheading the protests against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, now ac Act.
Speaking at a protest demonstration “Concert for Peace and Harmony” at the Latasil playground in Guwahati, when an emotional Garg said, “We’ll launch our own party,” AASU president Dipanka Kumar Nath seconded him saying “we are thinking in that direction”. Both were greeted with loud cheers by the crowd.
Nath added: “While AASU will remain apolitical, we are ready to go to that direction with the Shilpi Samaj” (forum of artists). He slammed the state’s BJP-led government for deaths and injuries caused to people in police firing. Garg said, “We can even burn Assam if we want”. He demanded the criminals involved in violent incidents be identified and taken to task.
In a video message, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had said the restive situation was created by elements who spread rumours and scared people into believing that 1.2 crore to 2 crore non-Muslims would migrate to Assam from Bangladesh. He said a “negligible” number of the immigrants, who have been living in Assam for years, would be able to register for citizenship.
But at the rally in Guwahati, advisor to AASU, Samujjal Bhattacharya, insisted the immigrants be sent to Gujarat by a train following their identification. He said Assam would not take the burden of a single immigrant, irrespective of faith, who came after March 24, 1971, which is the cut-off date of the Assam Accord.
Meanwhile, the flip flop by the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) continued. After voting in favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the party has now decided to challenge it in the Supreme Court.
Brindaban Goswami, an AGP leader who resigned from the party two days ago, asked as to why the party’s lone Rajya Sabha MP, Birendra Prasad Baishya, had voted in favour of the Bill when the party was to challenge it in the Supreme Court.
The Guwahati unit of the AGP staged a protest on Sunday demanding the resignation of all three AGP ministers and Baishya.
National People’s Party (NPP) MP from Tura, Agatha Sangma said that she voted in favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha since many concerns of the Northeast have been looked into and accommodated. “I urge the people to understand that,” Sangma said while speaking to The Sentinel.
Lok Sabha member from Meghalaya, Agatha Sangma, has also ruffled many a feather by voting in favour of the Bill. In the face of brickbats, she said the decision was made in consultation with her party, National People’s Party, leadership.
So far, 18 petitions have been filed in the SC by various groups and individuals challenging the Bill. The North East Students’ Organisation will also move the apex court against the Bill on Monday.
A union of state government employees has decided to observe a ceasework stir on December 18 across the state. The union said jobs were not bigger than the motherland. Similarly, AASU will stage a three-day “satyagraha” beginning on Monday.
In the river island Majuli, Satradhikars (heads of Vaishnavite religious centres) threatened to come to Guwahati in 100 boats to stage a protest. Sonowal will lead a delegation of legislators of his BJP and allies AGP and Bodoland People’s Front to Delhi and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.