After the Union Cabinet approved a bill to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 for its introduction in Parliament next week, massive protests erupted across Assam.
While legislators of the opposition parties protested inside the Assam Legislative Assembly, various political parties, students’ bodies, civil organisations and other groups brought out marches across the state.
On December 7th, 2019, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) leader and Assam Food and Civil Supplies Minister Phani Bhusan Choudhury “ran away” from a party meeting reportedly fearing black flag protests.
Choudhury had attended an AGP meeting at Manikpur in Bongaigaon district of Assam. On being intimated that protesters are staging dharna and marching towards the meeting spot with black flags, the minister “ran away” via another route.
Earlier, black flags were waved at Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in New Delhi and Bodoland Territorial Council chief Hagrama Mohilary at Tamulpur, Baksa district.
It may be recalled, the AGP had withdrawn support from the BJP-led alliance in the state following the introduction of the previous bill. However, two months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, AGP joined hands with the BJP.
Protesters slammed the AGP for “surrendering” to the BJP and burnt tyres along the NH-31 in Manikpur.
The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to the people belonging to the Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Parsis who have become the victims of religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and entered India.
Photo: Rofique Alom