Fresh protests erupt in Northeast India against anti-citizenship law

New Delhi, August 17 (KMS): Several student organisations in the northeastern states of India renewed protests against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on Wednesday nearly two years after the demonstrations were last held against the controversial legislation.

Many indigenous groups in the region feel CAA — which, barring Muslims, seeks to grant citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan who entered India prior to December 31, 2014 — will lead to an influx of illegal migrants from bordering Bangladesh.

“We have been firm in our stand that the CAA is against the interests of Assam and other states in the region. But despite our earlier protests, New Delhi went ahead and enacted the legislation,” said Samuel Jyrwa, president of North East Students Union (NESO), the umbrella body of all student organisations in the region.

On Wednesday, sit-in demonstrations were held in all state capitals of the region against CAA and other issues.

Wednesday’s protest comes in the backdrop of Indian home minister Amit Shah’s remarks earlier this month, during an interaction with a BJP delegation from West Bengal, that CAA will be implemented once Covid-19 vaccinations are over in India.

“India is a democratic country and everyone has the right to protest. It will remain to be seen how people react to the fresh protests. I hope the public don’t get swayed by emotions and indulge in disruptive and violent acts (like previous anti-CAA) protests,” Assam BJP chief Bhabesh Kalita said.

The police in Assam appealed to student organisations to refrain from protests.

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