GUWAHATI: Normal activities at Assam government offices came to a grinding halt on Wednesday as the employees hit the streets to stage protests against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
“Sadou Asom Karmachari Parishad”, a union of state government employees, had earlier announced a “ceasework” stir to register their protests against the CAA.
Banks and other Central government offices functioned while train services within the state also resumed. Educational institutes, however, remained closed. They are likely to reopen on December 23.
With mobile internet service continuing to remain suspended for eight days, the protesters are ventilating their ire against the CAA on public walls and “gamusas”, a rectangular-shaped piece of cloth which is the pride of the Assamese, by writing slogans on them against the CAA.
The state continued to remain peaceful despite the statewide spontaneous protests staged by people from all walks of life. Thousands of people gathered at the Latasil playground in Guwahati on Wednesday on the third and final day of “satyagraha” organised by the All Assam Students’ Union. The protestors chanted anti-CAA slogans and slammed the BJP for its attempt “to bring the Bangladeshis to Assam”.
Continuing with their protests, the artists of the state will organise a demonstration at the Chandmari field on Thursday. Across the state, the buzz is on a monosyllable, CAA. “We won’t accept CAA”, “Repeal CAA”, the protestors chanted.
The police arrested one Aminul Haque, who is the Assam unit president of Popular Front of India (PFI), for allegedly inciting violence during protests in Guwahati last week. The police also raided the PFI’s Guwahati office and seized laptops and other materials.
Assam’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had on Tuesday said government had evidence the PFI and the Congress were involved in the violent incidents.
A Congress delegation on Wednesday met the state’s Director General of Police, Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, and lodged a complaint alleging that the state government was selectively targeting the workers of the grand old party.
Reading out the names of some injured people who are admitted to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi said, “People, who sustained injuries during the protests, belong to different communities but the BJP is targeting one community. They are also selectively arresting our workers”.
In an apparent attempt to quell the protests, the state government announced that 55,000 vacant posts in different departments would be filled up and Rs.50,000 each would be given to the state’s 2,000 artistes and technicians. The AASU welcomed the move, but at the same time, said the government would not succeed in diverting the attention of protestors or muzzle the voices of protests with these steps.
As people fear their land, language and culture are in grave danger vis-à-vis CAA, the state’s Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said the government would protect the land, language and culture of the indigenous people.