AASU and NESO press conference held in New Delhi on 7 January | Photo: Bismee Taskin | ThePrint
AASU and NESO press conference held in New Delhi on 7 January | Photo: Bismee Taskin | ThePrint
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New Delhi: Amid the ongoing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) have said they will stage a “massive agitation” if Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits the state.

“We will stage a massive agitation if PM Modi visits Assam now, after reducing our ethnicity and treating us like second-class citizens,” AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said in New Delhi Tuesday.

The threat comes ahead of the Khelo India Youth Games 2020 that Assam is set to host, along with Maharashtra, from 10-22 January. The PM may inaugurate the sporting event after Khelo India CEO Avinash Joshi sent him an invite; however, officials are awaiting confirmation from the PMO.

AASU had also said earlier that it would launch protests if Modi visited Guwahati to inaugurate the games.

Addressing the media in Delhi Tuesday, Bhattacharya reiterated, “We are more than happy (that Assam is hosting Khelo India), and we welcome the sportspersons who will come to Assam to participate… But we will stage massive protests if PM Modi comes to Assam.”

The first edition of the sporting event was inaugurated by the PM in New Delhi in 2018.

Modi was to be in Assam last month to participate in the annual India-Japan summit, where he was scheduled to host counterpart Shinzo Abe on 15 December. The Japan PM, however, cancelled his trip following the violent protests in Guwahati against the new citizenship law.

Also read: What 2019 Citizenship Amendment Act says and why the outrage over it

Two-day protest march from Wednesday

Bhattacharya, who is also an adviser to NESO, said the students’ organisation would also hold a two-day protest march with black flags across public places and educational institutions from Wednesday, to send across a message to the government that Assam will “never accept” the new citizenship law.

He said continuous illegal immigration in the Northeast over the years has led to internal disturbances from “elements of external aggression”. “By violating the Assam Accord, Modi and Amit Shah have now isolated the Northeastern region and are responsible for playing with our ‘Indianness’,” he said.

NESO president Samuel Jyrwa, who was also present at the press conference, said the Modi government was only using the people of the Northeast for vote bank politics, and this has “crippled the seven states politically and economically”.

“Northeast has become a guinea pig for the political harvest of this BJP government,” he said.

Also read: Modi’s CAB proves that concerns & fears of northeast people don’t matter in Indian politics

ILP and Sixth Schedule

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, exempts areas under the Inner Line Permit system and Sixth Schedule from the purview of the Act.

The student bodies expressed disappointment over the implementation of ILP and 6th Schedule only in specific regions of Northeast.

Bhattacharya “challenged” the Modi government to answer the people of Assam and Tripura over the exclusion of most of the regions of these states from the safeguards of the ILP and the Sixth Schedule.

Jyrwa also accused the Modi government of targeting the ethnicity of the people of Assam and “forcing the state to get into the pan-India Hindu-Muslim rhetoric”.

“In Tripura, the population fabric has changed so much over the years due to illegal immigration that the native Tripuri community only constitutes 30 per cent of the entire state’s population. We do not want Assam to be another Tripura,” the NESO president added.

Assam and Tripura, which share the longest border with Bangladesh in the region, do not have the ILP system in place.

Also read: What is Inner Line Permit in Northeast and how it is linked to citizenship bill


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