Twitter Id: @iKaushikBaruah
Its been more than a month of peaceful protests against CAA in Assam, with thousands taking part almost daily. National mainstream media have largely stopped covering Assam. For most mainland politicians, opinion makers, Assam & NE doesn't feature in their scheme of things. Its very unfortunate, that our Honorable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi had to cancel his visit twice in the last one month or so, not good from the economic standpoint for a state that performs poor on most economic parameters. Assam desperately needs more investment & development.
Protests in Assam are completely different than the ones happening in rest of India. People of Assam want center to exclude the state from the purview of CAA, while all are supporters of NRC (undergone NRC exercise) and even ready for re-verification of NRC. CAA Protests in Assam is not about religion unlike in other states. Assamese are protesting because they are on the verge of losing their political identity, language and culture in their own land. People of Assam don't want B'deshis irrespective of religious affiliations.
Regarding the protests in rest of India, hope the protesters would change their naive, misinformed & misguided views. CAA in other states could have been implemented better with proper impact assessment, thankfully BJP has come up with their "Door to Door" awareness campaign. As regards to the protests/agitation in Assam, participants includes students, lawyers, businessmen, artistes, doctors, intellectuals, writers, senior citizens, employees & journalists. People cutting across communities and religion have come out in support in huge numbers. Sikhs, Marwaris, Sindhis, Nepalis, Biharis & Muslims, who have made Assam their home for generations, are also part of the protest. The powerful All Assam Students' Union (AASU), like in 1980s is again spearheading the agitation against the CAA.
Congress too is organizing protests in different parts of Assam, but failing to gather even 30 supporters. Assamese can never ever trust Congress when it comes to this issue. On Republic TV English news Channel, top Assam Congress leader Kirip Chaliha admitted that party allowed infiltrators for votes. Link
Fear of Assam
The message from Assamese is loud and clear "We have accommodated so many illegal Bangladeshis, we will not allow any more of them - legal or illegal". The fear among the Assamese is that of the cultural hegemony of the Bengalis/Bangladeshis. India has a long and proud history of providing refuge and shelter to people who have fled oppression. I believe that persecuted people from not only Pakistan and Afghanistan, but also from any corner of the globe who have Indian roots should be given Indian citizenship.
Personally, I support CAA in rest of India, but Assam should be excluded from it, because it is the only state in India which has legally given citizenship to millions of East Pakistani (B'deshis) refugees till 1971 via Assam Accord, for all other states the cut-off is 1951. Assam should not be pushed beyond limit because more than 1/3rd ( 33% - 36% ) of the population is of Bangladeshi origin, thanks to Congress vote bank politics in the last 4 decades. Also, its a state with limited resources & cannot sustain an influx of more immigrants.
India in its perennial enmity with Pakistan, has ignored probably the biggest dangers that arise from non-stop illegal immigration from Bangladesh continuing till date, and likely to continue for a very long time. Assam and North East India are the long term sufferers.
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