Protests against CAB in NE states (Adding input from Nagaland)

Guwahati/Shillong/Aizawl/Itanagar/Kohima, Nov 18 (PTI)Protests were held in the north eastern states on Mondayopposing the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill andeffigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi were burnt in Assam.

The protest rallies coincided with the first day ofthe winter session of Parliament during which the bill isproposed to be introduced.

Sit-ins were also launched in various places ofGuwahati and effigies of Assam Chief Minister SarbanandaSonowal were burnt by youth organisation AJYCP in differentparts of the state as a mark of protest against the CAB.

The protests were held by the North East StudentsOrganisation (NESO), the region's umbrella organisation ofstudents unions, its constituents, farmers' body Krishak MuktiSangram Samiti, youth body Assam Jatiyatabadi Yuba ChatraParishad (AJYCP) and Left-Democratic Mancha, Assam amongothers.

NESO submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister NarendraModi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah against CAB through thegovernors of the north eastern states.

The NESO and AASU along with other organisations tookout a large rally from its headquarters at Uzan Bazar inGuwahati to the Raj Bhawan shouting slogans and waving bannersand placards against the CAB.

'Assam and the north east are not dumping grounds forillegal Bangladeshis. As per the Assam Accord we have alreadyaccepted all Bangladeshis - both Hindu and Muslims who enteredAssam illegally upto 1971. We will not accept those whoentered Assam after that year,' NESO and AASU chief advisorSamujjal Bhattacharyya said.

'The central government is trying to impose on Assamall the illegal Bangladeshis who entered the country in thenext 43 years by fixing the cut off year as 2014. We won'taccept that. We oppose it,' he iterated.

'This movement in Assam and the north east region willcontinue', he asserted.

Commenting on the contention of Assam minister HimantaBiswa Sarma and other BJP leaders that a lot of problems willbe solved if the CAB is enacted, Bhattacharya said 'The Billwill safeguard the vote bank of BJP. They(BJP) want the votesof illegal Bangladeshis. They have the numbers in Delhi(Parliament) and they will impose the CAB on us.

'We will not accept CAB and that is why we havelaunched our agitation against the Bill,' he added.

AASU president Dipanka Nath said, 'The CAB is thedeath knell for the Assamese community. It will make theAssamese people extinct. It will open the door for moreBangladeshis to enter Assam.' Claiming that Assam has rejected the CAB, Nath said'We will oppose till our death this Bill, which is harmful tothe existence of the Assamese community'.

AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said thatAssam and Tripura have taken the largest burden of illegalBangladeshis.

'Imposition of CAB in the north east is unacceptableto its people as their sentiments have been ignored despitethe public rejecting the bill,' he added.

In neighbouring Meghalaya Khasi Students Union, aninfluential students body in the state, held a sit-in nearthe third secretariat here protesting against the contentiousbill, which it said, will have a negative impact on thepeople of the entire region.

A group of anti-CAB protesters will launch a stay offthe road protest from 7 pm on Monday till 6 am Tuesday.

State Chief Minister Conrad Sangma had met Shah lastweek and urged the Centre to consider withholding passing ofthe CAB in its current form.

A rally was taken out in Aizawl by the Mizoram apexstudents body Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) on Monday in protestagainst the CAB.

The protestors said the Centre's decision to introduceand pass the bill will create a huge demographic imbalance inthe north east as millions of illegal immigrants fromBangladesh were residing in the area.

MZP leaders expressed the fear that the bill, iflegislated would legalise thousands of Chakmas who hadillegally migrated to Mizoram from CHT in Bangladesh.

It submitted a memorandum to Mizoram Governor P SSreedharan Pillai at the Raj Bhavan stating its strongopposition to the proposed legislation of CAB and alsodemanded that the north eastern states be exempted from itspurview.

In Itanagar, The All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union(AAPSU), a NESO constituent along with other students bodiesof the state, held a protest march and demonstrated in frontof the Raj Bhawan against CAB.

North East is not a dumping place for illegalmigrants. Under no circumstances will CAB be accepted. Ourprotest against the anti-indigenous Bill will continue, AAPSUpresident Hawa Bagang said.

In Kohima the Joint Committee on Prevention of IllegalImmigrants (JCPI) has called for 18 hours Nagaland bandh onTuesday on the issue.

JCPI convener K Ghokheto Chopi and secretary TiaLongchar in a statement said that as the CAB is to be tabledin the winter session of Parliament, the North East Forum forIndigenous People have directed all federating states'organisations to initiate a united mode of agitation to opposeits passage.

'Once this contentious Bill becomes an Act it willforever change the demography of the entire North East stateswhere the indigenous population will become minority in theirown land like in Tripura,' the JCPI leaders aaid.

The committee requested the people of Nagaland toparticipate in the strike and asked all shops and businessestablishments to voluntarily down their shutters as a mark ofprotest.

The CAB was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8 thisyear but was not tabled in Rajya Sabha and lapsed. It seeks toprovide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians,Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan andAfghanistan after seven years of residence in India even ifthey do not possess any document.

During a recent meeting of BJP-led North EastDemocratic Alliance at Guwahati, Shah, who is also the party'spresident, had said the concerns of the north eastern stateswill be incorporated in the CAB and had sought suggestions onit. PTI ESB TR HCV UPL NBSKK KK