Guwahati, Jan. 7 (PTI): Several organisations from Assam on Monday staged protests, with some of the demonstrators stripping naked, outside Parliament against the central government’s move to amend the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
Carrying placards and raising slogans, about 10 protesters belonging to the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti from Assam stripped themselves naked to protest the controversial bill.
Within no time, police swung into action and removed the protesters from the highly secured Vijay Chowk.
Another group of people protested outside the Assam Bhavan in Chanakyapuri, showing black flag and raising slogans.
Four Rajya Sabha members of the Congress, led by APCC president Ripun Borah, also staged protest outside the main gate of Parliament against the bill.
Carrying banners and raising slogans, the Congress MPs demanded that the bill should not be brought in Parliament.
Protests also broke out in several places in Assam, with agitators stripping themselves in public in Tinsukia, on Monday over Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s comment that if the Citizenship Bill is not passed “we will be surrendering to Jinnah’s policy”.
The minister on Sunday had also said people are commenting on the bill in a “reactionary way” and intellectuals are trying to build a “wrong narrative”, but clarified that he was not pointing to any community.
“I am meaning (Pakistan’s founding father Mohammad Ali Jinnah) Jinnah, I am not meaning any community,” Sarma had said.
However, protesting organisations such as the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) alleged that Sarma through his comments was trying to polarise the electorate ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
Protesters, led by organisations, observed ‘Black Day’ and carried black flags and burnt replicas of the bill across the state. In New Delhi a group staged a nude protest in front of Parliament Complex.
Another group staged a nude protest in Assam’s Tinsukia town as well against the minister’s remarks.
They also burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
The Left Democratic Mancha, a common platform of Left and democratic parties, organised a protest meeting. They took out a procession to Kamrup Metropolitan Deputy Commissioner’s office here.
A total of 70 groups led by KMSS will protest in front of different offices of Oil India Limited and ONGC, KMSS Advisor Akhil Gogoi Gogoi said.
In addition they would also stop oil, petroleum products, coal, forest products and limestone from being transported outside the state, he said.
The Union Cabinet Monday cleared the redrafted Citizenship Amendment Bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The bill is expected to be tabled in the Lok Sabha Tuesday.
The move came within hours of the presentation in the Lok Sabha of a report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee examining the bill that was first introduced in Parliament in 2016.
Large sections of people in Assam and other northeastern states have been protesting against the bill, saying it would nullify the 1985 Assam Accord under which any foreign national, irrespective of religion, who had entered the state after 1971 should be deported.
Eight influential students’ bodies of the Northeast, besides more than 40 socio-cultural organisations of Assam, have called an 11-hour ‘bandh’ on Tuesday in protest against the central government’s move to amend the Citizenship Act.