Imphal/Guwahati, Jan. 12: The North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) observed ‘Black Day’ on Saturday across the North-eastern region protesting against Madhabbari police firing incident in Tripura where the police open fired on the protestors opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 on January 8.
The NESO comprises of Khasi Students’ Union, All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Naga Students’ Federation, Mizo Zirlai Pawi, Twipra Students’ Federation, All Manipur Students’ Union, Garo Students’ Union and All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union.
AASU chief advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya, who had gone to Tripura with a team of NESO members, said they were stopped by police when they were proceeding towards Khumulwung Hospital to visit the injured persons after meeting other injured people at G B Pant Hospital.
He alleged that the Tripura Chief Minister Deb does not understand the pain of the indigenous people.
“We condemn the high-handed attitude of BJP government in Tripura and protest against it by observing today as ‘black day’, he added.
The AASU hoisted a black flag at its headquarters in Guwahati and student activists protested across the state.
In Mizoram, the Mizo Zirlai Pawl or Mizo student federation, a constituent of NESO, had called for protests. Black flags were hoisted at several places in the state capital Aizawl by MZP activists.
In Manipur, the Joint Students’ Coordination Committee (JSCC), a unified body of six student bodies including All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) observed ‘Black Day’ in Imphal.
Speaking to reporters, AMSU President Manjit Sarangthem called upon the people to stand together against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. He also warned that various forms of agitation will be launched if the government takes up necessary steps by withdrawing CAB.
The protest march was participated by the leaders and representatives of All Manipur United Clubs Organisation, Committee on Human Rights, Irabot Foundation, National Research Centre and other women organisations including Poirei Leimarol Meira Paibi Apunba, Manipur, Meira Paibi Welfare Association, Kangleipak and All Manipur Women’s Voluntary Association.
The United Committee Manipur, another conglomerate of several civil bodies of the state, said that “passing of CAB in Lok Sabha is against the interest of the NE region and it indicates that the legitimate demands of the North-eastern people had been neglected.”
Joint committee on Inner Line Permit System which has been spearheading the public movement for the implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Manipur to control the inflow of illegal immigrants, also strongly reacted to the government’s move on the Bill.
Demanding the clear stand of state government on the passing of the Bill, Kangleipak Kanba Lup said “the people of Manipur will not accept the bill which has a hidden policy to eradicate the indigenous people of the North East states. It said BJP cannot decide the fate of Manipur.”
Etho-Heritage Council also known and United People’s Front also urged the MPs of all North-eastern states to come together to fight against the Bill.
Normal life crippled in Tripura
Normal life was crippled during the dawn-to-dusk bandh on Saturday in Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), which comprises two-thirds of Tripura’s territory and is home to tribals who constitute a third of the state’s population.
The bandh call was given by five indigenous parties Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT-Tipraha), Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra, Twipra State Party, National Conference of Tripura and Tripura People’s Party to protest against the police firing.
Sunil Dev Debbarma, general secretary of Tripura Students Federation, said the seven injured in the lathi charge are admitted to a hospital but said to be stable.
Khumulwng town, the headquarters of the tribal council around 18km from Agartala, remained deserted as shops were closed and markets were closed and vehicles stayed off roads.
Schools, colleges and government offices also remained shut, police said.
There was no report of any violence from any part of the council during the bandh, said Subrata Chakraborty, the state additional inspector general (law and order).
“There were road blockades by bandh supporters in at least three districts Kalacherra, S K Para and Neilahabari in Dhalai district, Sachirambari in South Tripura district, Amarpur and Takcherra in Gomati district,” Chakraborty said.
When contacted, Radha Charan Debbarma, TTAADC chief executive member and prominent leader of the opposition CPI(M), said “over 1,800 schools and eight colleges in TTAADC area remained closed and no employee turned up at their offices. Everything, including markets and shops, remained closed and vehicles remained off roads.”
West Tripura Superintendent of Police Ajit Pratap Singh said the situation in Madhabbari and adjacent areas was normal.
The ban on Internet services and prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure have been lifted, Singh said.
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has ordered a magisterial inquiry into how and under what circumstances police opened fire on protesters in Madhabbari.
During the bandh, Twipra State Party members wore black badges and took out rallies with black flags in several places, TSP general secretary Sunil Debbarma said.
A motorbike rally with participants carrying black flags was organised in Barkathal in West Tripura district, he said.
Univ. bans protests in campus after BJP leader’s threat
A day after BJP leader Pradip Dutta threatened Assamese speaking students of Barak valley to bar their admission in the Assam University, authorities of the institute Saturday banned protests inside the campus without prior permission.
Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, however, continued across Assam, mostly by the students’ community.
In an order, Assam University Registrar Dr. Sanjib Bhattacharjee directed that no procession/dharna or any sort of gathering of people within the campus without prior approval of the authorities is strictly prohibited until further order.
The order that comes into force with immediate effect was issued with the approval of the vice-chancellor of the university, located at Silchar in Bengali dominated Barak valley.
Any unauthorised gathering will be treated as violation of the order and those involved in the violation will be dealt with as per rules, the order said.
“I warn the Assamese (speaking) students of the university that you study only and don’t indulge in politics.
Think about the future. We then will be forced to bar admission of Assamese students in the university,” Dutta was heard saying in local news channels Friday.
“I am writing to the vice-chancellor of the university asking him what step he is taking against the students for opposing the bill”, Dutta said in Bengali.
The threat came after a section of students of the University on Thursday came out in support of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, while another had taken out a candlelight vigil on Wednesday to protest against it.
Dutta’s statement was condemned by various quarters.
Cotton University Students Union (CUSU) in Guwahati even filed a complaint in Pan Bazar police station here against Dutta for making the communally provocative statement.
Meanwhile, protests against the Bill continued in Guwahati where the Pratibandhi Suraksha Sanstha, an organisation of differently abled people, came out against the Bill at the Dighalipukhuri area here.
Students of Nalbari College and Nalbari Commerce College boycotted their classes and burnt the effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
Students of Nagaon College and intellectuals of Nagaon town also came out in protest against Bill and the sedition case filed against litterateur Dr Hiren Gohain, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) chief Akhil Gogoi and senior journalist Manjit Mahanta.
In Majuli, Sonowal’s assembly constituency, students of Majuli College boycotted classes and burnt tyres to protest against the passage of the Bill in Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, students of the North East studying in IIT Bombay also took out a rally in the campus demanding repeal of the bill, reports reaching here said.