GUWAHATI: People continued to fray tempers across Assam by hitting the streets, taking out processions and staging sit-in demonstrations as the protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA), continued.
The protestors demanded the scrapping of the amended Citizenship Act. They criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his statement that the protesters could be identified by their clothes.
The general secretary of All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) Lurinjyoti Gogoi also criticised the PM on the issue. “It is unfortunate that the PM cannot accept our dress and ridiculed us. We condemn his statement,” the AASU leader said.
He slammed the PM also for implicating the Congress to the protests staged in front of the Indian High Commission in London. He said the protests were staged by NRIs, mostly Assamese.
Curfew was lifted from Guwahati and broadband internet service restored. However, mobile internet services continued to remain suspended. After hearing four PILs, the Gauhati High Court passed an order on Tuesday asking the state government to consider restoring the service. The government is likely to take a decision on Wednesday.
The AASU, which had launched a three-day “satyagraha” on Monday, continued to stage the protests. Advisor to AASU and its general secretary Gogoi were briefly detained by the police during a protest march where hundreds of residents participated.
“(Assam Finance Minister) Himanta Biswa Sarma is making various kinds of comments to confuse people. People are coming out to stage peaceful protests and we warn the government not to play with their sentiments or try to suppress the movement,” Bhattacharya said.
The AASU general secretary Gogoi appealed to all non-Assamese people, including Biharis and Bengalis, to stage the protests saying not many of them were coming out to be part of the protests.
Three ministers of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which is a constituent of the state’s three-party ruling coalition, and some other leaders of the party met Governor Jagdish Mukhi at the Raj Bhawan in Guwahati on Tuesday and urged him to ensure that the CAA is not implemented in Assam. Ironically, the AGP had voted in favour of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which now is a law, CAA. The party had also asserted two days ago that it would move the Supreme Court to challenge the CAA.
Meanwhile, train services within Assam were partially restored on Wednesday. However, no train was running to Kolkata.
A union of state government employees will resort to a statewide ceasework stir on Wednesday. The AASU welcomed it. Finance Minister Sarma said the state government would adjust their absence with their casual leave and there would be no pay cut. He urged them not to take part in the programmes of political parties.