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Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma Asks Agitators To Move SC To Cancel CAA

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GUWAHATI, Feb 29: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday claimed that there was no relevance of any protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Act at this point and said that all those opposed to the law may approach the Supreme Court for revoking it.

Addressing a press conference here, Sarma said Parliament, which had passed the law, is “not supreme” as the apex court is above it and can terminate any legislation enacted like what it did to the electoral bonds.

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“There is no relevance of protest against CAA as agitation cannot do anything regarding the fate of an Act passed by Parliament. That can only change in the Supreme Court like it abolished the electoral bonds introduced by the BJP,” he added.

Sarma stressed that the judiciary has the power to alter an Act and moreover, Parliament has also ended sine die and nobody can call a sitting of the two houses to undo the CAA in the next four months.

“CAA is a reality and it is in the law book of India, it has been a part of the statute book of India for the last two years. Those who hate the CAA wholeheartedly will also have to approach the SC. Those who want to make a political career out of CAA can do agitation. There is a difference between the two,” he added.

The chief minister said one may not like the CAA but he respects that feeling and the same should happen from the opposite side (those supporting CAA) too.

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“I don’t want to criticise any side as it’s their right to like or dislike the CAA. But the resolution of both sides must take place at the Supreme Court, not on the streets of Assam. CAA was passed democratically in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Now what will you do about this? You can’t do anything about it (by protesting),” he added.

Sarma questioned the motives behind the protests and “dragging Assam backwards to a certain level” as people will continue to contest for the upcoming Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

“Assamese people had protested against the Bill, but still it was passed. However, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are not the supreme bodies, and the Supreme Court is above them,” he stressed.

Asked if the renewed protests against the contentious law will affect the BJP in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the chief minister refused to comment, but said, “I genuinely feel that all those against CAA and those in favour of it should go to the SC.”

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The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (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.

The opposition parties in Assam on Thursday submitted a memorandum to President Droupadi Murmu and said that they will undertake a “democratic mass movement” across the state if the CAA is not repealed.

The United Opposition Forum Assam (UOFA), formed in the state in line with the opposition bloc Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), on Wednesday announced that a state-wide bandh will be called the very next day of the contentious Act coming into force, followed by ‘gherao’ of the Janata Bhawan (the secretariat) on the subsequent day.

The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) along with 30 other organisations also announced a series of agitational programmes from March 4 across the state against the law.

Massive peaceful agitations took place for a few months across all the districts in Brahmaputra Valley after Assam witnessed one of the most violent public protests in its history for several days since December 9, 2019.

After the Rajya Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on December 11, 2019, the state erupted in uncontrolled protests, in which agitators engaged in pitch battles with security forces in almost every major city or town, forcing the administration to impose curfew in several towns and cities.

During violent protests, three rail stations, post office, bank, bus terminus, shops, dozens of vehicles and many other public properties were set ablaze or totally damaged in different parts of the state. (PTI)




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