Assam: Anti-CAA outfits pay tributes to slain agitators, resolve to resume stir

Assam witnessed violent protests in 2019 during and after the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament.

Guwahati: Several organisations in Assam on Sunday paid tributes to the five agitators who were killed in the anti-CAA stir two years ago, and resolved to resume the movement against the Act.

Memorial meetings were organised at the residence of Sam Stafford, one of the slain agitators, and a playground in Guwahati, with attendees resolving to once again intensify the stir against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), which was among the first groups to organise protests against CAA after it was passed in Parliament, paid tributes to the slain agitators at Stafford’s Hatigaon residence.

Sibsagar MLA Akhil Gogoi, who was a KMSS leader during the stir and was jailed for his role in it, while paying floral tributes at the photographs of the deceased, said that political parties and “nationalist organisations” must take the lead in resuming the movement.

Commenting on the artiste fraternity that had taken the centrestage in the 2019 stir, he said, “We can’t expect them to organise agitations. Their help is crucial but they shouldn’t be blamed for not reviving the movement.”

All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), another key player in the stir, organised a memorial at the Hatigaon Higher Secondary School playground.

Speaking on the occasion, AASU chief advisor Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya said, “It is wrong to say that the anti-CAA movement has died out. It had lost its intensity due to the commencement of examinations (in January 2020) and then the pandemic and lockdowns.”

“We will resume the agitation with full intensity once again. We won’t let the sacrifices go in vain,” he said.

Bhattacharya said the anti-CAA agitation will once again be a pan-Northeast one like in 2019.

Singer-music composer Zubeen Garg, who had taken a leading role in the 2019 protests, also paid his tributes at the programme organised by the AASU.

“We won’t accept the CAA and that is for sure. The government is trying to confuse us, but we won’t allow them to make us accept it,” he said.

Several organisations, including AASU, North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) and Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP), had observed ‘black day’ on December 11 to mark two years of the passage of CAA in Parliament.

CAA seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis who have entered India on or before December 31, 2014, from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after five years of residence here.

Assam witnessed violent protests in 2019 during and after the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Parliament.

Pitched battles took place between protestors and police, and at least five people were killed during the agitation.

The government cracked down on the stir, arresting the leaders, snapping internet connectivity and imposing curfews. The agitation led to the formation of two parties AJP and Raijor Dal. However, both failed to make a mark in this year’s assembly elections, barring Akhil Gogoi who won the Sibsagar seat.

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