Various organisations in the northeast have threatened to resume their agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) of 2019 if the Centre tries to implement it.
The warning has been sounded ahead of Home Minister Amit Shah’s three-day tour of Assam from May 9 for a slew of events coinciding with the completion of one year of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government.
The government headed by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was sworn in on May 10, 2021.
In Meghalaya capital Shillong, the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) said any attempt to implement the CAA would lead to unrest in the State. The Centre, instead, should implement the inner-line permit system in Meghalaya to check the entry of “illegal immigrants”.
The inner-line permit is a temporary travel document issued according to an 1873 regulation. This permit requires Indians to possess one while entering four States of the northeast – Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland.
“We will always oppose the CAA, pandemic or no pandemic,” KSU president Lambokstar Marngar told journalists in Shillong while reacting to Mr. Shah’s statement during his visit to West Bengal that the CAA will be implemented once the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
The All Assam Students’ Union and the Raijor Dal, a political party headed by MLA Akhil Gogoi, have also opposed Mr. Shah’s comment on the CAA.
Another students’ body, the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chhatra Parishad, advised the Home Minister to hold a referendum on the CAA before making assertions regarding its implementation.
“The BJP got the CAA passed in Parliament because it has the numbers. But popular sentiments are against the Act because it had overlooked the concerns of the indigenous people of the northeast,” the Parishad said in a statement.
Mr. Shah’s schedule includes interaction with the officials of the Border Security Force at Mankachar on the Assam-Meghalaya-Bangladesh border, the launching of Khadi and Village Industries products in western Assam’s Tamulpur and the inauguration of a super speciality hospital and National Forensic Sciences University in Guwahati besides addressing a public meeting to mark the completion of a year of the BJP-led government.