The Assam government has warned its employees of disciplinary action for “indulging and participating in political activities” on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram.
The warning follows the cease-work by some 4 lakh Assam government employees on December 22 to protest the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The Sadou Asom Karmachari Parishad had called the strike.
The office of the Director of Elementary Education, Assam, issued a letter to all district elementary education officers on December 24 seeking action against government employees, including contractual workers, who violate the provisions of Assam Services (Discipline & Appeal) Rules, 1964, for taking to social media to express dissent.
Teachers and students have been at the forefront of the agitation against the CAA in Assam, which began violently, leading to the death of four people in police firing. Two others were burnt alive by mobs.
One of Assam’s oldest churches has curtailed Christmas celebrations as a mark of protest against the CAA.
The Nagaon Baptist Church in central Assam was established in 1846 by Miles Bronson, an American missionary who played a key role in conserving and promoting the Assamese language.
The CAA is perceived to threaten Assamese language and culture by “facilitating influx of Bengali speakers from Bangladesh”.
“We did not take out the customary pre-Christmas cultural procession and curtailed all celebrations today (December 25) apart from the church service,” a spokesperson of the church said.
The All India Bengali Organisation (AIBO) has demanded indigenous status for the Bengali speakers of Assam while slamming CAA as a design to convert Hindu Bengali citizens into refugees.
“We adopted a resolution seeking khilanjia (indigenous) status for Bengali Indian citizens living in Assam, taking into consideration the 6,000-year-old history of Bengalis,” AIBO general secretary Manas Roy said.
Bengali organisations have pointed out the community had been part of Assam since 1874 when the British rulers made Sylhet (now in Bangladesh), undivided Goalpara (comprising areas beyond the present-day western Assam district) and Barak Valley (southern Assam) a part of Assam.
“Sylhet could have remained a part of Assam in independent India had the leadership in 1947 agreed,” said Nitish Bhattacharjee, president of Barak Valley Bengali Sahitya Sabha.