NESO, AASU calls Northeast Bandh on Jan 8 against Citizenship Bill

NESO), AASU alongwith 30 other organisation called an 11 hour-long strike across eight states of northeast India on January 8.


Guwahati

Amid growing protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, at least 30 indigenous groups, headed by North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), and All Assam Student’s Union ( AASU )  have called an 11 hour-long strike across eight states of northeast India  tomorrow.

Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharyya, the chief advisor of the North East Students Union (NESO) and All Assam Students Union (AASU) told a press conference here on Saturday that the 11-hour bandh was called by the two organisations along with allied 30 ethnic organisations in Assam to oppose the bill and condemn the PM’s statement. The bandh will be in force from 5 am to 4 pm, he said.

After a meeting with 30 ethnic communities to discuss its future course of action following the PM’s announcement, Bhattacharyya said they decided to intensify their movement against “forceful imposition of the bill on the people of Assam and the North East region and to call the bandh was against our will. We are calling a bandh after 10-years”.

NESO Adviser Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharyya addressing a press conference

The protest is against the government’s move to pass the parliamentary bill that promises Indian citizenship to “persecuted” religious minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The fresh protest will come two days after indigenous outfits held rallies in the majority Assamese-speaking areas of Assam on Saturday protesting the bill, where, according to reports, effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi were burned.

Addressing a rally in Silchar of Assam’s Barak Valley region, which has a majority Bangla-speaking population, Modi said his government would try its best to have the proposed law passed in the winter session of parliament, which is due to end on January 8.

The bill seeks to give Indian citizenship to non-Muslims who had migrated to India from the three countries until December 31, 2014, allegedly due to religious persecution.

Most indigenous groups in North Eastern India believe that the bill, if passed, would reduce them to minorities.

“This bill is unacceptable, and the call for shutdown is to let the central government know that they cannot come out with a law that threatens the existence of the Assamese and other indigenous people in the North East,” said Dipankar Kumar Nath, president of All Assam Students’ Union.

Earlier on December 31, the BJP-dominated joint parliamentary committee on the bill rejected all amendments to its draft that were suggested by the opposition congress and other parties.

The committee is expected to table its recommendations for the bill in parliament tomorrow.

On Saturday, the Citizens’ Forum against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill launched a campaign to mobilise support against the bill’s passage.

Its members appealed to editors of all dailies in Assam to leave their editorial columns blank and asked television channels to run the upper or lower ticker black tomorrow to protest against the bill.

Harekrishna Deka, the forum’s spokesperson and Assam’s former director general of police, said today would be observed as “dhitkar diwas” (condemnation day) across the state.

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