The powerful All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), which is spearheading protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), on January 3rd, 2020 came down heavily on Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
Retreating that anti-CAA protests would continue, AASU general secretary Lurin Jyoti Gogoi said, “Assam is not a dumping ground for illegal immigrants. We will not accept any illegal foreigners. They (state government) cannot silence us with guns and bullets. We are not afraid of their guns. We will continue to raise our voice against the act.”
He added, “We will not accept the CAA. The act is unconstitutional, illegal and anti-indigenous. We will not accept it under any circumstance.”
The AASU along with All Assam Matak Yuba Chatra Sanmilan held a massive rally in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district. Braving cold and rain, tens of thousands of people joined the rally opposing the CAA.
Slamming Sonowal for supporting CAA, Gogoi said, “He changed his colours as he changed parties…from AASU to AGP and then to BJP. Sonowal must get the Oscar for Best Actor.”
Sonowal has become the main target of the protests against the CAA in the state. Once hailed as the ‘Jatiya Nayak’ (hero of the community), the Chief Minister today is called the “betrayer of the Assamese people”.
Four people have been killed in police firing so far, while an oil tanker driver was charred to death when his vehicle was set on fire in Orang.
“The Chief Minister is a heartless person. Till today, he has not visited the families of the ones who died during the anti-CAA protests. Sonowal has to pay for every drop of blood of the martyrs. Their sacrifice will not go in vain,” he added.
After the Rajya Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on December 11th, 2019, massive protests erupted in the state including a few other Northeastern states. In Assam, rail stations, panchayat office, a post office, a bank, a bus terminus, shops, several vehicles and other public properties have been either set ablaze or ransacked.
Chabua, the hometown of Sonowal has been the hardest hit in the agitation against the CAA in December 2019. Apart from public and government offices and establishments, Chabua MLA Binod Hazarika’s house was set on fire by the protesters.
“MLA Hazarika’s house was set on fire by his close associate Togor Hazarika,” Gogoi said.