The anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) agitations returned to the northeastern region with the influential North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) on Sunday observing the third anniversary of the passage of the law in Parliament as ‘black day across the region.
Student bodies staged protests in the capitals of northeastern states on Sunday demanding scrapping of the contentious law by displaying black flags and banners.
The powerful student body, which is a conglomerate of eight student organisations of seven northeastern states including the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), has been spearheading the agitations across the region since the BJP-led Central government moved the law in the Parliament in 2019.
In Assam, which was the epicentre of the anti-CAA protests in 2019, AASU held memorial gatherings at different places and offered floral tributes in the memory of the five people who were killed in firing during the agitations three years ago.
AASU President Utpal Sharma said they won’t accept the CAA as it is against the indigenous people and genuine citizens of India.
“We would continue our agitations against the CAA,” he told the media in Guwahati.
NESO Chairman Samuel B. Jyrwa said, “The observation of ‘black day’ is to give a message to the government of India that we are against the CAA and also at the same time to remind our people and our posterior of yet another political injustice that the government perpetrated on the indigenous peoples of the northeast.”
The anti-CAA protests had first started in Assam, parts of West Bengal and other northeastern states in 2019 and continued till 2020 before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
At least five persons were killed in the protests against the CAA in Assam, which also witnessed large-scale violence and imposition of curfew for several days.
The CAA seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim minorities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — who have migrated from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, after facing faith-based persecution.
It was passed by both the Houses of Parliament and given Presidential assent in December 2019.
However, rules under the CAA are yet to be framed.