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Amid vow to revive anti-CAA protest, work on memorial for Assam Agitation ‘martyrs’ initiated

Assam Chief Minister said The Martyrs Park and Martyrs Memorial will preserve the legacy of those who sacrificed their lives for Assam’s cause. Screengrab.   | Photo Credit: twitter.com / @sarbanandsonwal

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday initiated the work on a park and memorial for the ‘martyrs’ of the historic Assam Agitation of 1979-85 that sought the ejection of “illegal migrants” from the State.

The programme organised by the Assam Accord Implementation Department to mark Swahid Divas (day of remembering 855 martyrs of the Assam Agitation) coincided with the vow of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) to continue with the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

Also read: Assam-specific CAA rules sought

The AASU and associate organisations had spearheaded the Assam Agitation. These organisations say the Act that seeks to fast-track the citizenship of non-Muslims from three neighbouring countries undermines the four decades old movement.

“The Martyrs Park and Martyrs Memorial will preserve the legacy of those who sacrificed their lives for Assam’s cause and inspire the future generations of the State to dedicate themselves for the State’s development,” Mr. Sonowal said, after offering the ‘bhoomi pujan’ for the 85-bigha park at Boragaon on the outskirts of Guwahati.

“If we are to showcase our identity and heritage, we must preserve our history and the State government’s initiative to build the Martyrs’ Memorial would highlight the valour and commitment of the Assam Agitation martyrs for protection of Assamese identity to the visitors to the memorial,” he said.

The Chief Minister also released the first volume of a four-part data book on the Assam Agitation.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which rules Assam in alliance with two regional parties, including the Asom Gana Parishad that was born out of the Agitation, has been harping on the need to protect the Assamese identity against the “continued onslaught of the Mughals”.

One of the promises of the party has been to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord of August 1985 that ended the Agitation. The clause seeks to guarantee land, cultural, political and other constitutional rights of communities considered Assamese and indigenous to Assam.

The day also saw the AASU under a new set of leaders promise to resume and sustain the anti-CAA protests of December 2019 that led to the death of at least five people, three of them in police firing.

“A government that is promoting the legalisation of a set of illegal immigrants in Assam has no right to observe Swahid Divas,” said Sankarjyoti Baruah, the newly-elected general secretary of the union.

The AASU has decided to organise a musical protest on December 12 to mark a ‘dark year’ of President Ram Nath Kovind’s nod to the “anti-indigenous people” CAA. The North East Students’ Organisation, of which the AASU is a constituent, would be observing a Black Day on Friday to mark the passage of the law in the Rajya Sabha on December 11, 2019.

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Printable version | Jun 25, 2021 4:15:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/amid-vow-to-revive-anti-caa-protest-work-on-memorial-for-assam-agitation-martyrs-initiated/article33300907.ece

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