New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday described the situation in Assam as “extremely disturbing” and accused the BJP-led Central government of provoking the sentiments of the people of the state by passing the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
Speaking to the media in the Parliament, Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi said, “The situation in Assam right now is extremely disturbing. The protest in Guwahati is far worse than what we have witnessed in the last two days.”
He said that many people have said the protests in Assam is “unprecedented” and that this level of public outrage and anger on the streets has not been seen in the last 20-25 years.
Gogoi’s remarks came a day after the Rajya Sabha passed the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, two days after it was passed in the Lok Sabha.
The CAB seeks to give Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who have entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
The Bill was vehemently opposed by major opposition parties, which described it as “against the Muslim community”, a charge the government rejected by saying that it did not affect the Muslim community residing in the country.
On Thursday, Assam continued to be on the boil as anti-CAB protesters set ablaze the house of an MLA, torched vehicles and burnt down a circle office even as the state government removed two key police officers, including the Guwahati Police Commissioner.
The Army conducted flag march in Guwahati, while the authorities extended the suspension on internet services across the state for another 48 hours, even as most airlines cancelled flights to and from Dibrugarh and Guwahati, while train movement was also halted.
Gogoi said the local media informed him about the firing going on in many places in Guwahati.
Lamenting at the Narendra Modi-led government, Gogoi said, “We express concern, but, at the same time, we understand that this level of outrage has been provoked by the way the BJP has run short with this Bill.”
Firing salvos at the government, Gogoi said, “What was the urgency when you saw people of the Northeast protesting after the Lok Sabha passed the Bill? Why didn’t the government show caution before passing the Bill in Rajya Sabha?
“This arrogance is what is provoking the people of Assam and Northeast and that is why I had said in my speech that people are not slaves. This is an elected government of the people, for the people and by the people, but it seems that BJP has insulted the Northeast, ignored the Northeast, forgotten the Northeast,” he said.
Gogoi also accused the BJP leaders of making provocative statements in which they undermined the credibility of the public protests, saying that they were linked to a political party.
“Please understand, these protests are not linked to any political party or organisation. These are spontaneous public outbursts and instead of adopting a conciliatory approach, the Army is being sent, internet is being snapped.
“It has also come to our notice that the government is sending circulars to channels, discouraging them from showing what the real picture is in the Northeast and in Assam,” Gogoi added.