Before the Assembly elections in Assam, Congress leaders and workers will visit every house in the state and collect 50 lakh ‘gamochas’ to intensify its campaign against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, party leaders said on Wednesday.
The traditional ‘gamocha’ in Assam is a white piece of cloth with red border having a customary pattern, which is almost synonymous to Assamese identity and culture.
The Congress has set a target of collecting 50 lakh gamochas with anti-CAA messages to display them in the proposed ‘Martyrs’ Memorial’ to be built to commemorate the martyrdom of anti-CAA protesters, who had sacrificed their lives to save ‘Assamese pride’.
The chairman of the Congress’ election manifesto committee, Gaurav Gogoi, said that the party has proposed to build an anti-CAA memorial in Guwahati for which he urged every Assamese to share gamochas with anti-CAA messages.
“You may sign the gamocha and send it to us through courier or hand it over to any party worker who visits you,” Gogoi, deputy leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, said while addressing a gathering in Bihpuria town in Lakhimpur district.
Gogoi, the son of three-time former Chief Minister late Tarun Gogoi, further said: “This is your chance to be a part of history. We humbly request you to write why you don’t want CAA in Assam with your name on a gamocha and send it to us.”
While addressing the public meeting, Assam Congress President Ripun Bora said: “We have our ears on the ground and we expect that the party would get at least 50 lakh gamochas from the people of the state and all of them would be exhibited at the upcoming martyrs’ memorial.”
Leader of the Congress legislative party, Debabrata Saikia, who’s the son of former Assam Chief Minister Hiteswar Saikia, said that the BJP’s five-year (2016-2021) rule in Assam would be marked as ‘dark days of BJP’s oppression on Assamese people’, which are about to get over, and the Congress would make sure that the CAA is not implemented in Assam.
Congress campaign committee chairman Pradyut Bordoloi said that the people of Assam would not forget the bruise that BJP has inflicted on the ethos of Assam through its divisive and communal politics.
Elections to the 126-member Assam Assembly are due in April-May.
All the eight northeastern states and neighbouring West Bengal witnessed violent protests for many weeks in 2019 end and in early 2020 against the CAA.
Five people had died in police firing and more than 200 were arrested in Assam following the violent protests in which a huge number of government and non-government assets were damaged, including railway properties in West Bengal and in the northeastern states.
Notified on January 10, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim minorities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — who migrated from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, after facing religion-based persecution.