Another Assam Agitation brewing?

Saturday, 30 May 2020



Another Assam Agitation brewing?

Bishaldeep Kakati | December 15, 2018 12:36 hrs

In the remarkable year of 1228, legendary ruler Sukapha established a strong and healthy Assam; people lived a secure and happy life. However, after the Treaty of Yandaboo in 1826 Assam came under the British colonial rule. With India becoming a sovereign nation, having its own federal form of government, the Union government, bent on ignoring the needs and the desires of the people of Assam, treated the state as a stepson and its only intention was to extract the state’s resources and pleasing its simple and generous inhabitants with false hopes and promises. An infamous example of this was the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru’s, quote, “My heart goes to the people of Assam” during the 1962 Indo China war; defending the Chinese aggression was not quite on Nehru’s agenda.

Thus the lack of importance, the unresponsive attitude, the mode of betrayal and all others finally resulted in the launch of the historic Assam Agitation that lasted from 1979 to 1985. The consequence of it was the signing of the Assam Accord on 15th August 1985 by the then Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi. The Assam Accord demanded a whole lot of things for the people of Assam, which included constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, economic development, prevention of encroachment of government lands, registration of births and deaths among many others. However the main highlight of the Assam Accord was the demand to remove all the illegal immigrants and its related issues like security of international border to stop illegal immigration and restriction of acquisition of immovable property by foreigners. But the signing of the Accord hardly ended the woes of the people of Assam. 

The conspicuous fact is that if the 60 years of Congress rule harassed the people of Assam, then the 4 years rule of the newly formed BJP government has been no different either.

Nevertheless, the urgency shown by the Supreme Court of India has been instrumental in formulating the National Register of Citizens to identify the illegal immigrants, but the newly formed BJP government came out with a destructive notion to destroy the impact of NRC in detection of illegal immigrants. The proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which plans to give Indian citizenship rights to people who have been oppressed in Muslim majority countries came as a major blow to the NRC process. While the NRC endeavors to remove the illegal immigrants, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, if passed, would bring these immigrants back to Assam thus nullifying the entire motive of the Assam Accord. Although nowhere in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 it is written that these illegal immigrants would be placed in Assam only, the fact is that once these illegal immigrants are given the citizenship rights, they can easily come back and settle in Assam. Not only this, the Union governments of the past and the present have also tried to create havoc to the state either by establishing dams or by privatizing the resources of the state. And amidst all these, Assam remains a state with a large unemployed population.

These actions of the government to forever ignore and demolish Assam have led to many pressure groups, associations, NGO’s, students of colleges and universities to amalgamate and indulge in various agitations and protests once again, to warn the government to not to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and thus protect the identity of the indigenous people. And all these circumstances, directly or indirectly, indicate the uprising of another “Assam Agitation” - stronger and fiercer than the earlier one.

Added to this, another piece of news that came in from the recently concluded book fair also somewhere down the line puts a hint on the people’s interest to safeguard their motherland. The news of people buying more and more books of martyr journalist Parag Kumar Das, who went away telling the tales of his motherland, highlights that the denizens wish to know, understand and protect the state. In fact, the alarming news of people trying to know more and more about ULFA or even joining the outfit clearly shows the people’s intention to revolt or protest against anyone or anything that hinders the security of its people.

Thus, the current prevailing scenario, the woeful acts of the government and the natives’ desire to safeguard the state from the fore steps of destruction might together lead to a second version of Assam Agitation, which if happens, would lead to more and more people turning into martyrs, much higher than the previous count of 855 martyrs. Hence at no cost the people of Assam or the government of India should want another Assam Agitation to occur again. Therefore, in order to ensure that no such agitation takes place in near future, it is high time that the government puts emphasis on the needs and desires of the people of Assam.

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