Student bodies under NESO hit streets
GUWAHATI, Aug 17: After a gap of over two years, protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) resumed across the Northeastern region on Wednesday.
Protests by members of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), a part of the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), were held in all the district headquarters of the state amid heavy security arrangements.
In Guwahati, the protests were held outside the ‘Swahid Bhawan’, the AASU headquarters.
NESO advisor Samujjal Bhattacharjee told reporters that the people of Assam can never accept the CAA and it has to be repealed.
“We had to suspend our protests two years ago due to the prevailing pandemic but have now decided to renew it so that the CAA is not implemented,” he said.
“The anger against this unjust law, however, has been burning in the hearts of the Assamese people and our protests against it will continue till it is repealed,” he added.
The students’ organisation also demanded an end to the problem of radicalisation, a permanent solution to the foreigners’ issue and the complete removal of the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) from the entire Northeast.
It also demanded constitutional safeguards for the indigenous population of Tripura, resolving the problem of Chakma-Hajong refugees in Arunachal Pradesh and a separate recruitment board for the youths of the Northeast.
The contentious CAA seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis entering India on or before December 31, 2014 from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after five years of residence here.
Assam witnessed widespread anti-CAA agitation led by different organisations in late 2019 and early 2020, leading to the deaths of five people.
PTI adds from Shillong: Activists of NESO staged sit-in protests in Meghalaya on Wednesday, demanding the repeal of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Members of the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), which is a part of the NESO, staged a sit-in protest at the U Kiang Nangbah statue in Shillong, while the Garo Students’ Union activists protested in Tura.
“Our demand is that the government implement the Inner Line Permit in the entire Northeast. We also demand the repeal of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the draconian AFSPA,” NESO chairman Samuel Jyrwa told PTI.
NESO also demands the adoption of an educational policy for the Northeast based on the culture and history of the region, he said.
Jyrwa said the NESO also wants an administrative centre of the ‘Act East Policy’ be established in the region as it would have an impact on the unemployment issue.
The NESO wants the government to adopt a separate time zone for the region, he said, adding that the Centre must also look into the welfare of the people from Myanmar who crossed over to the Northeast to escape persecution.
PTI adds from Aizawl: Mizoram’s apex student body Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP) on Wednesday staged a demonstration in Aizawl demanding withdrawal of CAA and Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
In the sit-in held at the MZP office here, supporters of the organisation demanded that the Centre revoke CAA and AFSPA from the region.
It also asked the central government to resolve the inter-state boundary disputes in the Northeast and the problems faced by the states of the region along the international border.
The MZP demanded that an education policy be framed to suit the culture of the people of the region.
Its other demands included providing relief to the Myanmarese refugees staying in the Northeast and declaration of a separate time zone and special employment zone for the Northeast.