AASU’s Agitation against the CAA: Spontaneous Donations coming from Upper Assam

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AASU’s Agitation against the CAA: Spontaneous Donations coming from Upper Assam

Rangman Das | December 21, 2019 16:41 hrs

• How does AASU propose to fight the expensive legal battle?

• RSS alleges that AASU is being helped by some its old members who are now part of BJP

• Citizens express spontaneous willingness to help in the agitation to ‘save’ the motherland

• What does the AASU leadership say?

The contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) which has turned the state of Assam into a topsy-turvy situation is now an Act. The situation today is such that besides Assamese people who are the residents of the state, the Diaspora across the world has been part of the protests. Moreover, the Supreme Court of India (SC) is saddled with a number of petitions filed by more than 15 parties-individuals-organisations. These petitions, in the meantime, have been heard in the Supreme Court on 15th December last itself. The apex court has asked the government to clearly state the objectives of bringing the contentious bill into a law and why the same law should not be invalidated. On 22nd January next, the SC is set to renew its hearing of the 59 petitions filed including the petitions of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) which is at the forefront of the agitation.

How does AASU propose to fight the expensive legal battle?

A case filed by the Asom Sanmilita Mahasangha has been hanging in the SC since 2018. The yet unsettled case continues to be heard by the SC bench. The latest decision of AASU to be part of the agitation against the CAA through a legal process has added momentum to the movement against the contentious Act. But the point of concern is where will the money come from to fund the AASU’s legal battle and its other related organisational requirements? Other than seeking public favours, are there any other options of the AASU? As per news coming in from upper Assam, to fund this legal battle and other related expenses, district units and the AASU including the Dibrugarh unit has already started a fund-mobilizing campaign. The legal battle would, after all, entail the AASU leadership to frequently travel to New Delhi for the SC hearings among many other activities that would require healthy funds.

Allegations by RSS that AASU is being helped by some its old members who are now part of BJP

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) recently had a high-level meeting at its northeast headquarters located at Keshav Dham. The meeting was specifically organised to discuss matters related to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The meeting brought into focus an important issue. There was a serious discussion on the fact that a few former AASU members who are now part of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been secretly helping the students’ organisation. Whether the same help is by way of money or otherwise is yet not clear. The RSS has sought an explanation in this regard from the concerned people.

Citizens express spontaneous willingness to help in the agitation to ‘save’ the motherland

Pranjit Bora, a senior citizen and president of the Jansimolu Nagarik Manch, who is very closely associated with the ongoing protests against CAA said, “We are happy if the AASU has commenced on a fund-raising drive for the agitation. We will be glad to contribute spontaneously to the cause. Our opinion is that before the AASU comes to us, we should all spontaneously reach out to them with our contributions.” At the same time, the Organisational President of the city unit of Asom Jatiyatabadi Juba Chatra Parishad, Diganta Deka said, “The greater Assamese society has always contributed handsomely for the cause of the motherland and will continue to do in the future. There is no doubt about that.”

What does the AASU leadership say?

In view of the news that AASU cadres had already started a fund-raising campaign in upper Assam, we sought a clarification or confirmation from the AASU General Secretary, Lurin Jyoti Gogoi. Gogoi told this correspondent, “We, from our side, have not started any collection or fund-raising drive. This is a rumour and is completely false. The fact is that people from various places, especially from Dibrugarh, Sivasagar and Golaghat have spontaneously come forward with donations. SSeveral organisations from Golaghat itself have contributed to the AASU and sum of money amounting to Rs. 6.5 lakhs. The bar association of Golaghat has contributed Rs. 50,000. On the other hand, the Assam College Teachers’ Association has contributed Rs. 1.5. lakhs for the cause. The Marwari Yuva Manch and Bhojpuri Yuva Manch have contributed Rs. 1 lakh and Rs. 50,000 respectively.”

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