Guwahati, Jan. 10 (PTI): Protests over the contentious Citizenship bill continued in Assam on Thursday with students, lawyers and doctors raising their voice against the legislation across the state.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha two days ago, seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims who fled religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before December 31, 2014.
With ‘gamosas’ (Assamese scarf of honour) in hand, people observed ‘Sankalpa Divas’ in front of the state secretariat here, asserting that the Bill threatened the existence of Assamese people.
They warned that the “prime minister and his cabinet colleagues will be stopped from entering the state” if their interests were harmed.
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), which has been leading the agitation along with its 70 partner organisations, had vowed on Wednesday that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union ministers would not be allowed to enter the north eastern till the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was scrapped.
At Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, junior doctors Thursday wore black badges to work, while members of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee’s legal department raised slogans against the government.
At several educational institutes in Guwahati, students were seen boycotting their classes to take to the streets for a protest march to the state capital Dispur, but their attempt was thwarted by security forces.
The Bill is draconian and communal, KMSS chief Akhil Gogoi told reporters outside the secretariat.
“If this bill is accepted then the very secular fabric of India will be destroyed. Assamese people have always opposed illegal immigration.
“If the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is passed, at least 190 million people from Bangladesh will find their way to Assam, threatening the existence of its original inhabitants,” Gogoi said.
Talking about the next course of action, the KMSS chief said, “We will undertake economic blockade programme all across Assam, hold demonstrations against the prime minister, Union cabinet ministers and the chief minister. We will wave black flags at all BJP members and ministers”.
The KMSS leader clarified that he along with other protesters would also refrain from participating in the upcoming Bihu Festival.
Over the past two days, agitators across the northeast, including Assam, have blocked thoroughfares and rail tracks, seeking revocation of the Bill.