Assam anti-CAA protests face police crackdown

New Age Desk | Published: 23:59, Jan 23,2021


Ahead of Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit, police resorted to charge baton on activists of the All Assam Students’ Union who took out a rally in Tezpur on Friday to protest the central government’s controversial citizenship law, reports NDTV online. 

The police detained several AASU activists on Friday in different districts of Assam during the demonstrations against the Citizenship Amendment Act which saw protesters hold torch-light rallies across the state.

The crackdown turned violent in Tezpur when thousands of AASU activists took out a rally in the city against the law that promises citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants from three neighbouring countries if they came in before 2015.

Widely seen as discriminatory, the law provoked a wave of protests across the country in 2019 and riots in Delhi.

The AASU condemned the police crackdown and announced a shutdown in the Sonitpur district on Saturday to protest the police action.

The influential students’ body had called a three-day protest in Assam against the CAA ahead of PM Modi and union home minister Amit Shah’s visits to Assam over this weekend. 

On Friday, a massive torch rally taken out by the AASU activists was blocked by the police midway. The outfit’s leaders, including its chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya and president Dipanka Nath, later had a heated argument with the police.

‘The government has directed the police to stop our peaceful, democratic, torch-light rally. This BJP government is trying to snatch away our democratic right to protest by using force,’ Nath said.

‘Prime minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah will be in Assam shortly, and we warn the centre that we will intensify our agitation against the draconian CAA. No rest until CAA is repealed by the government,’ he added. 

Bhattacharya slammed the Assam government for blocking the ‘democratic and peaceful torch rally’.

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