GUWAHATI: The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), spearheading the protests against controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will face massive protests if he visits the state to inaugurate “Khelo India” beginning on January 10 in Guwahati.
“We have kept our eyes set on Khelo India and T20 match to be played between India and Sri Lanka on January 5 in Guwahati. A massive protest will be organised if Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes to inaugurate Khelo India,” chief advisor to AASU Samujjal Bhattacharya told journalists on Sunday.
AASU president Dipanka Nath said it would be a prolonged agitation against the CAA.
“As Modi and BJP are planning to destroy Assam, we are fighting a legal battle by moving the Supreme Court against the CAA. We are also staging democratic protests. They will continue,” Nath said.
In the aftermath of violent protests early this month, a meeting between Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Guwahati, which was scheduled from December 15-17, had to be “postponed”.
The AASU and 30 ethnic organisations announced a series of protests to be staged from December 31. They requested people to stage protests in every household, light lamps in memory of five “martyrs” (people killed during violent protests in Guwahati) in every locality, take out torch-lit rallies in towns and villages across the state, stage a protest using traditional musical instruments and burn representational copies of CAA at “meji” (bonfire in keeping with the tradition of Magh Bihu celebrated mid-January).
Meanwhile, stung by the protests, the state’s BJP-led coalition government appeared at its wit’s end. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal wondered as to why the protests were being staged against his government when it took several steps for Assam’s development and safety and security of the people.
“We have nothing to hide. All our steps have been transparent. Suddenly, what crime have we committed that our MPs, Ministers, MLAs, party workers at various levels become the targets of the protestors?” a beleaguered Sonowal asked at a programme at Sualkuchi off Guwahati prior to a peace rally taken out by the BJP.
“Respecting the Assam Accord (signed in 1985 at the end of Assam Agitation), we took several steps. Along with AASU leadership, we visited areas on the India-Bangladesh border and took stock of the situation. The state government had offered Rs.5 lakh to each martyr of the Assam Agitation and Rs.2 lakh each to those who had sustained bullet injuries,” the CM said.
Stating that he himself has grown from the AASU, he appealed to the leadership of the students’ body to repose faith in him, his colleagues and the state government.
He said evidence gathered so far pertaining to the violent incidents made the government to suspect that a conspiracy was hatched by opposition Congress and Left parties.
The state’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “Some people are talking about floating a political party and wresting power the way the AGP (Asom Gana Parishad) was born out of the Assam Agitation. I have no doubt it will be like Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne. They will lose their security deposits”.
At an anti-CAA rally in Guwahati recently, popular singer Zubeen Garg had made a call for the formation of a new political party in Assam. It was instantly backed by the president of apolitical AASU who said, “We are thinking in that direction”.