Permission denied to Assamese community’s anti-CAA agitation

Rising dissent: Muslims take out a rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Karad on Friday.

Rising dissent: Muslims take out a rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Karad on Friday.  

Organisers allege last-minute refusal, police cite law and order

A protest planned by the Assamese community against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) outside Fergusson College on Sunday evening was cancelled after the Deccan police denied permission on grounds that it could lead to a possible law and order situation.

Claiming that permission had been granted earlier, the organisers said the police informed them about a reversal of their decision on Saturday evening. “We had first approached the Pune City Police Commissioner’s office. It directed us to Deccan police station which had assented to our protest. However, on Saturday, they called us and expressed their inability to grant approval,” said Bidyut Saikia, one of the organisers, adding around 400 people were expected to turn up for the demonstration.

“To protest is our constitutional right and the event was to be peaceful…while the police may be under pressure to deny approval, we hope to get permission at a later date,” Mr. Saikia said.

Speaking to The Hindu, police inspector Dipak Lagad of Deccan police station clarified that permission granted earlier to the organisers was merely a “conditional” one subject to further review.

“However, following discussions with our superiors, we thought it prudent not to grant permission as it may result in a potential law and order situation, which we are anxious to avoid at all costs,” he said.

Expressing sentiments of the Assamese community in Pune, Mr. Saikia said the community strongly opposes the CAA which has been forcibly “imposed” by the Central government without considering the public sentiment of the multi-communal State of Assam.

“This Act directly endangers Assamese culture as the inclusion of immigrants under the CAA is bound to create havoc and misunderstanding among people, and threatens the existence of the indigenous Assamese culture and people, who are already a minority in their own State. The inclusion of immigrants who have little or no idea about our culture and heritage is a direct threat to our identity,” he said.

Another organiser said the CAA also nullified the Assam Agitation of 1979-85, an honorary movement for the statehood of Assam in which more than 850 people sacrificed their lives in the hope of an ‘infiltration-free Assam’.

“The agitation had culminated with the signing of the Assam Accords of 1985, through which the people of Assam were promised that illegal immigrants would be deported. But the CAA seems to be based on some vague political agenda of the government, by which it appears to be willing to shelter illegal immigrants, which is totally unacceptable to the people of Assam,” he said.

Shivam Kashyap, another community member, said following the eleventh hour cancellation, the organisers had ensured that those unaware of the police’s new directive were sent back from the protest venue.

Meanwhile, the Congress staged an agitation against the CAA , raising slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre and pledging to safeguard the Constitution.

Pune Congress general secretary Ramesh Iyer said the Centre’s imposition of the CAA is a move to divert attention from the economic doldrums that the BJP has dragged the country into.

“The CAA and the NRC cannot go hand in hand. The Modi government has not applied its mind as to what they are going to do with the refugees in the event the NRC is implemented. Are these implementations even viable?” asked Mr. Iyer, adding crores of taxpayers’ money was spent on steamrolling the anti-humanitarian legislation through Parliament instead of attempting to resuscitate the economy.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 9:17:25 AM |

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