Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday took helicopter ride for only 5 km because of ongoing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, PTI reported. Sarma had to attend an event to pay tribute to deceased Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Rajen Borthakur.
Sarma could not go reach Ghoramari, where the programme was taking place, because of the agitation by All Assam Students’ Union. The protestors blocked the National Highway 15 between Tezpur and Ghoramari and shouted slogans against the amended citizenship law.
Later, the BJP leader took the chopper to reach the destination.
At least 26 people have died in nationwide protests against the amended citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens. Five people have died in Assam, which was the initial epicentre of the protests, when the police opened fire on protestors on December 17.
Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya, AASU chief adviser, said the protests will continue across the state until the Citizenship Amendment Act is repealed by the government.
The organisation also warned that massive protests will be organised if Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to inaugurate the “Khelo India” games on January 10 in Assam’s political capital Dispur. “After the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed, the prime minister is likely to visit Assam for the first time,” AASU President Dipanka Kumar Nath said. “If he visits for the “Khelo India”, there will be a massive protest.”
Nath accused Modi and the BJP of destroying Assam, said that they will not sit idle. “The struggle against the CAA will be a long one,” he added. “We are fighting a legal battle in the Supreme Court and we have full faith in it. Democratic protests will go on simultaneously.”
The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims.