Students burning effigies of politicians in protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Dibrugarh, Assam on Wednesday

Tinsukia: Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma will go down in history as traitors, angry students of Dibrugarh University (DU) said in a scathing attack against the duo as the Union Cabinet gave its nod to the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

Hundreds of students blocked National Highway-37 to register its protest against the move and burned effigies of Union home minister Amit Shah, Sonowal, Sarma, minister Keshab Mahanta and AGP president Atul Bora.

The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cleared the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who have faced religious persecution there, paving way for introduction of the Bill in the current session of Parliament.

The announcement came for information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar.

Protesters burning effigy of Assam minister Atul Bora in Dibrugarh as a mark of protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

Speaking with EastMojo, DU Post-graduate Students’ Union general secretary Rahul Chetry said, “The Modi government has betrayed the people of Assam. Sonowal, Sarma and other Assam leaders of BJP and AGP are no less responsible.

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“They will go down as traitors in the history of Assam,” Chetry added in an anger tone.

Chetry said that prior to assembly elections in 2014, the BJP had promised to seal Bangladesh border and send back all illegal migrants. They never mentioned “Hindu Bangladeshi” will be given exemption. “In reality, the picture is totally different and they are pushing for a legislation that will allow Hindu Bangladeshis to settle in Assam,” he said.

“The illegal migrants must not be differentiated on the basis of religion. It will violate the very idea of secularism and is anti-constitutional. The amendment will open a floodgate of migration of Hindu Bengali population from neighbouring Bangladesh into Assam, and the legal influx of new refugees will have serious repercussion on the socio-economic fabric of the state,” Chetry said, adding, “We will not allow this to happen. The people of Assam will never accept Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.”

The students raised slogans with placards, sources added. Semester examinations are underway in the university.

On the other hand, AASU’s Dibrugarh unit had also carried out masisve protests in the upper Assam town, a day after their discussion with home minister Shah failed.

Sources said, “AASU gheraoed the residence of Dibrugarh MLA Prasanta Phukan. They also hanged effigies of ministers.”

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