Various communities in Guwahati unite to protest the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019
With Guwahati being the epicentre for the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, thousands of people came together on 13th and 15th December to participate in two of the largest rallies in the history of Guwahati. People from all over the city and the region came together and defied the indefinite curfew imposed in the city as a mark of protest against the implementation of the CAA in Assam.
While the protests were primarily seen as the struggle for the preservation of the Assamese culture and language, the rallies painted another picture. Khilonjiyas were joined by various communities including Sikhs and Marwaris fighting against a bill they consider “unsecular.”
“The Sikh community cannot be considered independent of the rest of India. The Sikh community has always sacrificed their interest and put forward the interest of the nation. Just for the advantage of about 200 people, we do not want to change the spirit of the constitution. The CAA is going to divide the country into secular Indians and fundamentalists. In Assam, in the AASU agitation against illegal migrants, anti-Bengali feelings had crept in. Every Bengali speaking person started being seen as an illegal migrant. In the last 20-25 years, this sentiment had come down. However, with the CAA, the Assamese society will now get divided further into Assamese-Hindu and Bengali-Hindus, alienating the Bengali-Hindus further. On one side we speak of inclusive economy and politics and the other hand, the government passes such divisive laws. As an Indian, I feel this bill will divide the country on religious and communal lines,” said PP Singh, Founder, Khalsa Centre Northeast.
On speaking about the challenges that will lie ahead, Singh said, “The government is saying that they would implement sixth schedule and introduce ILPs. Tourism is the main industry for the Northeast. People here have the freedom to take their cars and drive to Shillong. With the ILP, this would not be possible. States like Meghalaya and Arunachal would suffer economically. States like Assam and Tripura who are trying to push tourism will suffer. People would rather travel to Shimla instead of coming to Kaziranga considering the complications of an ILP. This will further put stress on Northeast.”
“While some Sikhs people participated in the protests in Guwahati, Sikh religion is primarily focused on seva. The Khalsa Centre Northeast served food to over 4000 people who were stranded at the railway station over the past 3-4 days due to the protests and cancelled trains. These are people without water, food or mobile and were ignored by the government,” he further added.
The Purvottar Pradesh Marwari Yuva Manch also expressed their desire for the current tensions in Assam to abate. They have supported the AASU led agitation in Assam against the CAA. Mohit Nahata, the Secretary of the Purvottar Pradesh Marwari Yuva Manch has expressed concerns over the violence caused due to the implementation of the Act.
“The public’s opinion is the most important factor for us and it is for welfare that we work. We stand by the demand of the citizens of Assam. We supported Assam since Assam Agitation and will continue to do so the days to come. Together with AASU, we participated in various rallies and peaceful demonstrations,” said Nahata in a Press Release.
“If the implementation of the CAA is detrimental for Assam and affects the culture, history and language and its people, it is better to roll back the decision,” he further added
(The statement issued by the Purvottar Pradesh Marwari Yuva Manch is a translation from a press statement.)
File Photo from a rally by KCNE