A joint press conference being held in Guwahati, Assam on Saturday Credit: EastMojo image

Guwahati: Major civil society organisations of the Gorkha community of Assam, including Assam Gorkha Sammelan, the state unit of the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangha and state state unit of the Bharatiya Gorkha Mahila Parisangha (BhaGoMaP), have come together to reiterate their stand on the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019.

At a joint conference held in Guwahati on Saturday, the organisations said that they oppose the law in letter and spirit and demands the government of India to exempt the entire state of Assam from the purview of CAA.

Explaining this, Bhaskar Dahal, general secretary of Assam Gorkha Sammelan, the parent Gorkha organisation of Assam, said, “CAA 2019 will invite threat to indigenous Gorkhas of Assam as a constituent community of the greater Assamese community.”

“This Act, if not exempted now in Assam, will not only change the demography of the state but will adversely affect official Assamese language, communities’ cultural assimilation, arts and literature, finally leading to challenging the constitutional protection by new settlers as committed in Assam Accord,” the former president of All Assam Gorkha Students’ Union (AAGSU) added.

Prakash Dahal, general secretary of the Bharatiya Gorkha Parisangha (BGP), Assam state committee, said, “Assam Accord is a national commitment by the government of India to the people of Assam and Clause 6 which guarantees constitutional protection of indigenous communities should be implemented even before CAA 2019 is notified nationwide exempting Assam and the Northeast.”

It needs to be noted that Gorkhas participated in anti-CAA ‘Jan Andolan’ and ‘Gana Satyagraha’ spontaneously since they began and expressed unconditional solidarity and support to the movement, the leaders said.

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Elaborating on the Gorkhas’ stand on Clause 6 of Assam Accord, Prakash Dahal said, “Gorkhas too need constitutional protection as one of the constituent indigenous communities of Assam under Clause 6 of the historic Assam Accord where several Gorkha youths laid down their lives. We have submitted a joint representation from all Gorkha CSOs and noted personalities before the Empowered Committee and would request them to honour our demands for our safeguard as enshrined in Indian constitution.”

Bhaskar Dahal added, “Since my president days, AAGSU has stood with AASU for more than two decades now as founding member community organisation of this forum led by AASU and Gorkhas will continue to do so till the issues and plights of Gorkhas are considered and given constitutional safeguard as an indigenous community of Assam.

“Any attempt to dilute our indigenous identity by the government of Assam in lieu of CAA 2019 implementation on the pretext Gorkhas being predominantly Hindus will not be tolerated. If the Union government politicises to keep Gorkhas out of constitutional safeguard under Assam accord on ill advice, Gorkha CSOs will launch vigorous democratic movement with its people across Assam till our demands are met,” he added.

Bharatiya Gorkha Mahila Parisangha’s Assam state president Laxmi Subedi said, “Gorkha women and artistes too have participated in anti-CAA 2019 Jan Andolan and Gana Satyagraha and we stand with the people of Assam.”

The press meet was also addressed by BGP’s Assam state president NN Upadhyay.

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