A day before Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah’s arrival in Guwahati, the All Assam Student Union (AASU) held torchlight protests, demanding the scrapping of the Citizenship Amendment Act, the Environmental Impact Assessment Act, and the implementation of the report on Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. The PM is said to be arriving today, to launch a scheme of the state government whereby land Patta certificates will be distributed to around one lakh indigenous families.
AASU headquarters, Swahid Bhavan was also barricaded by the police, with students with torchlights not being allowed to move beyond the gate. However, the processions continued behind the gates. Four AASU members have been injured by police who blocked them from taking the torchlight procession out of the gate, at Tezpur. After this, a district unit of the student union called for a 12-hour bandh.
AASU member, Samujjal Bhattacharya stated that the barricade has been put up owing to BJP’s fears in Assam; he states: “the BJP government is scared as they failed the people of Assam”.
Even after protesters had provided assurances to the authorities that the protests would be non-violent and peaceful, police were sent to block the gates. Battacharya also criticised the present CM Sarbananda Sonowal, who was once an AASU President. He highlighted the irony of the CM sending police to quell the protests held by the very same organisation he hailed from.
While the PM has previously provided assurance that the report on Clause 6 of the Assam Accord will be implemented, protesters have highlighted how nothing has been done in the year that has passed. Battacharya highlights the seriousness of such a delay when he stated, “Clause 6 of Assam Accord is our democratic right and not any charity by the Prime Minister or Home Minister.” The AASU has planned a protest to cover their faces with a black cloth during Modi’s visit. In addition, the CAA manuscript will be burned on January 24th, and it will be observed as Black Day.