Jorhat/Guwahati, Jan. 11 (PTI/IANS): Strip protests continued over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill on Friday as one man removed his clothes in front of the deputy commissioner’s office at Jorhat to express his disapproval of slapping of sedition charges on litterateur Hiren Gohain.
Assam has witnessing protests since the Union Cabinet on Monday approved the Bill that aims to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for citizenship of India, after a Joint Parliamentary Committee submitted its recommendations to the Lok Sabha.
The man, identified as Mantu Dutta, came before the deputy commissioner’s office, shouted “Joi Aai Asom” (glory to mother Assam) and stripped alleging that the government is playing “dirty politics by slapping sedition charges on Hiren Gohain. He should not be arrested”.
Sahitya Akademi awardee and former Guwahati University professor Hiren Gohain was booked under sedition laws suo motu by the police on Thursday for his alleged remarks on the citizenship bill. The Gauhati High Court on Friday granted interim bail to him.
Warning the BJP-led government in the state of massive agitations if the Bill is passed also in Rajya Sabha, Dutta shouted, “Time and again we have been saying the government should not play with the emotions of the people”.
“We have been protesting peacefully till now. The BJP leaders should stop acting like brokers and take immediate steps for stopping passage of the Bill”, said Dutta as he was taken away from the place by the police.
Earlier, a group of men from Assam had stripped in front of the Parliament building claiming the Bill had made the people of Assam naked by threatening their identity, culture, language, state and heritage.
BJP office vandalised in Assam
As protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 continued in Assam, a group of agitators vandalised a BJP office near here, police said on Friday.
The agitators belonging to Oikya Sena Asom on Thursday night vandalised the office in Palashbari area.
The police said the protesters set fire to the effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, and also blocked the national highway shouting slogans against the BJP-led NDA government.
Later, the police took the agitators into custody.
Akhil Gogoi to hold hunger strike on coming Bihu festival
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) Adviser Akhil Gogoi Friday announced that he will hold a 24-hour hunger strike on the coming Magh Bihu festival, of which community feast is an integral part, to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
“I will not celebrate Magh Bihu this time and will not eat anything on ‘Uruka’. I will observe a 24-hour hunger strike with other representatives of 70 organisations from afternoon of January 14 to protest against the Bill,” he told a press conference.
On ‘Uruka’ night, the first day of the three-day Magh Bihu, people enjoy community feast with new harvest and it is one of the main attractions of the festival. Magh Bihu is one of the three Bihu festivals of the state.
The KMSS chief said till the controversial Bill is scrapped, protest will continue as BJP has plans to pass it in Rajya Sabha during the Budget session scheduled to commence on January 31.
The KMSS is one the major organisations that was holding protests across Assam against the controversial bill.
“The danger of the Bill getting passed is not over yet. We cannot relax. So we will continue our agitation till January 31, when the Parliament will meet again for the Budget Session,” Gogoi said.
Gohain, two others get interim bail
The Gauhati High Court on Friday granted interim bail to renowned intellectual Hiren Gohain, activist Akhil Gogoi and journalist Manjit Mahanta, against whom a case of sedition was registered by police.
The court has asked the police to submit the case diary on the next hearing on January 22.
The police registered a case of sedition against the three and some others who delivered speeches at a meeting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 on January 7. The sedition charge against Gohain and others have triggered anger in Assam. Several groups took to the streets on Friday to protest against the police move.
Four injured in Manipur student-police clash
Imphal, Jan. 11 (EMN): At least four persons, including a woman vendor were injured on Friday in street clashes between student volunteers and police over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Imphal.
The Joint Students’ Coordination Committee (JSCC), a unified body of six student bodies in Manipur staged a protest rally against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill passed in the Lok sabha.
Police said that most students who took part in the demonstration broke through the police pickets and converged at the women’s markets from different sides, all the while shouting slogans against the BJP government in Manipur and the Modi government.
Hundreds of women vendors joint the students’ group in response to the students’ call for protest.
Police personnel deployed in Imphal town stopped the protestors marching towards Raj Bhavan.
Police said the demonstrators became unruly and several “mock bombs” were detonated.
Manjit Sarangthem, President of the All Manipur Students Union, said: “There will be more agitations in the coming days if the Bill is not withdrawn. People have very little faith in political parties in the state.”