Guwahati: Ahead of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s three-day Assam visit, various organisations in the northeast have once again threatened to restart their agitations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) if the Centre tried to implement it in the region.
Shah, who is likely to arrive in Guwahati late on Sunday night, would attend at least eight different events on Monday and Tuesday, coinciding with completion of one year of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led second government in Assam, headed by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was sworn in on May 10 last year.
The All Assam Students’ Union, the Raijor Dal, a political party headed by Independent MLA Akhil Gogoi, the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chhatra Parishad in Assam, and the the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) in Meghalaya announced to resume their agitations against the CAA after Shah on Thursday announced in West Bengal that the government would implement the CAA as soon as the Covid-19 pandemic ends.
KSU President Lambokstar Marngar said in Shillong that any attempt to implement the CAA would provoke unrest in the hill state.
“The Centre, instead, responding the Meghalaya Assembly’s unanimous resolution and and demands of all most all political parties, should extend the Inner-Line Permit system, an 1873 regulation, in the entire Meghalaya to curb the entry of illegal immigrants,” Marngar told the media.
The Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisations (CoMSO), an umbrella body of more than 17 organisations, has been spearheading the agitation since 2019 for the introduction of ILP in the remaining parts of the state.
If the ILP – a temporary official travel document that allows an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period – is enforced in the entire Meghalaya, like in four other northeastern states — Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur, the state would keep itself out of the purview of the CAA.
Gogoi said that the people of Assam would never accept this “anti-people” law.
Gogoi, who is also the President of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, said that the BJP should realise that all sections of people are against the CAA as this is an anti-people law.
He had spearheaded the massive protests against the contentious citizenship law in Assam since 2019 and was arrested in connection with violent protests in the state in 2019 and was charged under the stringent anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The Central government had earlier announced that the CAA would not apply to the ILP and the Tribal Autonomous District Council (TADC) areas.In the northeastern states, there are 10 TADCs, constituted under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
While Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram have three TADCs each, Tripura has one.
All the eight northeastern states and neighbouring West Bengal witnessed violent protests in 2019 end and early in 2021 against the CAA, which seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims minorities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who have migrated from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, after facing faith-based persecution. At least five people were killed in Assam in police firing and clashes during the violent agitation.