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Anti-CAA protests back in NE after a lull

Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) are back in Northeast India after a lull. On Wednesday, the Northeast Students Organisation (NESO) staged demonstrations across the region.

In Guwahati, police barricaded the office of the All Assam Students Union to stop the protestors from staging a march, even as NESO members displayed placards opposing the CAA from inside the office.

Samujjal Bhattacharjya, an adviser to the umbrella body of student organisations of the region, said the NESO organised peaceful protests at all its state headquarters of the region. “The protest is pertaining to issues related to floods in Assam, implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act and Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, 1985,” he said.

He accused the Assam government of taking repressive measures by not allowing peaceful protests by the students union. “We will continue with protest for the repeal of the CAA and a solution for the illegal immigrant problem. Fundamentalist groups must be evicted from Assam’s soil,” he said.

Union home minister Amit Shah had stated that the CAA would be implemented once Covid-19 vaccinations were over in India.

Assam had witnessed violent protests in 2019 and early 2020 after Parliament passed the Act, which makes minority communities such as Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible to apply for Indian citizenship. Five people were killed in the protests.

According to critics, the CAA is against the Assam Accord, under which the cut-off date for detecting foreigners in Assam is March 24, 1971. The CAA exempts tribal areas under the Sixth Schedule and the inner line permit (ILP) in the Northeast. The ILP was extended to Manipur at the height of the anti-CAA protests.

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