Students’ associations in the northeast have declared a total shutdown across universities and colleges in the region on Wednesday when the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear petitions challenging the validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA).
The CAA has been designed to fast-track the process of granting citizenship to six non-Muslim communities — Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian — who allegedly fled religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan till December 31, 2014, and took refuge in India.
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The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) is one of the main anti-CAA petitioners. The apex court in December last year fixed January 22 as the date of hearing for all such petitions filed by others such as the Indian Union Muslim League, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, RJD leader Manoj Jha, Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi.
The fraternity of the north-eastern universities, in a statement on Tuesday, hoped the Supreme Court will address the “unconstitutional and contentious CAA and its ill repercussions” on the indigenous people in the northeast.
The universities in the eight-State region include Gauhati University, Dibrugarh University, North Eastern Hill University, Tezpur University, Assam Women’s University, Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Nagaland University, Rajiv Gandhi University, and North Eastern Regional Institute of Science and Technology.
Organisations across these universities and other institutions of higher education are bound by the North East Students’ Organisation, whose affiliates include the AASU and several State and tribe-based students’ organisations in the region.