Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Assam on Friday on a two-day visit to the North East as protests against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill continued, PTI reported. Members of the All Assam Students Union shouted slogans and waved black flags at Modi when he travelled to the Raj Bhavan from Guwahati’s Lokopriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport.
Many AASU activists were seen waving black flags and shouting slogans as Modi’s convoy crossed the gates of the Gauhati University around 6.30 pm and later when it crossed the union’s headquarters at MG Road. The workers chanted slogans like “Modi go back”, “Scrap Citizenship Amendment Bill”, and “Joi Aai Asom [Glory to Mother Assam]”.
The bill seeks to amend a 1955 law to grant citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from the Muslim-majority nations of Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan if they have lived in India for six years. Most northeastern states have opposed the proposed legislation, and it has sparked several protests in the region.
AASU Chief Advisor Sammujal Bhattacharya claimed that the police had locked up the gates of the union’s office due to which more activists were unable to join the protests.
“The government with its machinery can show its power and strength... no matter how much the government tries to quell the protests, the agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Bill will continue,” he said. “The government has proven that it is a protector of the Bangladeshi infiltrators and is against the indigenous people of Assam.”
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, an organisation working for farmers, also waved black flags as Modi’s convoy crossed the Adabari and Fancy Bazar areas.
As protestors waved black flags, several Bharatiya Janata Party supporters as well as ministers Sidhartha Bhattacharya and Pijush Hazarika stood near them and shouted slogans welcoming Modi.
Earlier on Friday, the AASU and 38 other organisations representing indigenous bodies burnt copies of the bill all over the state, the Hindustan Times reported.
Modi arrived in Guwahati from Jalpaiguri in West Bengal in a special Air Force plane. He is scheduled to address public meetings in Itanagar in Arunachal Pradesh, Amingaon in Assam, and Tripura state capital Agartala on Saturday.
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti President Akhil Gogoi said that at least 70 organisations protesting against the bill will show Modi black flags on Saturday. “Modi has come here to seek votes from the people of Assam,” he said. “The bill has been brought in to give citizenship to Hindu Bengalis from Bangladesh and get their votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.”
AASU President Dipankar Kumar Nath said Modi’s effigies would be burnt in several places across Assam on Saturday. “The pain of the indigenous people will be seen across Assam tomorrow,” he said. “Effigies of the prime minister will be burnt in every corner of the state.”