The entire Northeast India is going on an 11 hours long strike against the amendments in Citizen Act 1955. The strike will be observed from 5 AM to 4PM. This will be the first strike since independence that will spread to entire Northeast India. The shops, schools and other educational institutions and businesses will remain closed and transport will be off the roads and highways.
This is the first time in ten years that the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) is calling for a strike” said AASU General Secretary Lurin Jyoti Gogoi. “We don’t mean create inconvenience for anyone through bandhs (strike). But the situation is so grave that we have been left with no other alternative,” he added.
This is also the first time since independence that the entire Northeast region will observe a unified bandh, he said. The North East Students’ Union (NESO), the umbrella student body representing all the states has also called for the bandh across seven northeastern states, which is being supported by the AGP, the Congress and 30 other ethnic organizations from Assam.
The bill, which seeks to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 by granting citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Bill effectively allows anyone belonging to the above-mentioned groups to seek citizenship in India, as long as they have entered Indian before December 31, 2014.
A huge gathering — of intellectuals, students, activists, scholars, politicians as well as citizens — took place in Guwahati on Monday afternoon. KMSS members also stripped and staged a protest in New Delhi.
On Sunday, a group of women protestors — having no political affiliation — reportedly thronged the BJP state headquarters in Guwahati demanding the Bill be scrapped. In Dibrugarh, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal was greeted with black flags by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) when he came to attend an Asom Sahitya Sabha function.
We have been protesting for months now — not just in Guwahati, but in the remoter corners of the state. Tomorrow’s bandh is called by the AASU and we are extending our support wholeheartedly,” said a KMSS member. The student bodies from Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Arunachal Pradesh have also asked people of their respective states to observe the shutter down and wheel jam strike in “a bid to save their indigenous communities from extinction”.
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19 January, 2019