Assam Witnesses Widespread Protests Against CAA, PM Modi’s Effigy Burnt

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Resistance to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) fueled widespread protests throughout Assam on Tuesday (March 12), characterized by the burning of effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and copies of the law.

Opposition Actions

In Lakhimpur, the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) set ablaze effigies of the Prime Minister and the home minister. Simultaneously, Congress members in various parts of the district burned copies of the law to express their discontent with the CAA. Debabrata Saikia, the leader of the opposition in the Assam assembly, led Congress workers in a protest outside the party’s state headquarters, Rajiv Bhawan in Guwahati, where they burnt copies of the Act.

The CPI-M staged demonstrations against the act in Guwahati and Rangia town in Kamrup district. Students from various colleges organized protests outside their respective institutions in the city. In Sivasagar district, activists from Raijor Dal, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Chatra Mukti Parishad, and MLA Akhil Gogoi vehemently opposed the law, raising slogans against the Central government. Reports of burning copies of the CAA by Congress and AJYCP have also emerged from Barpeta and Nalbari, respectively.

The 12-hour ‘Sarbatamak Hartal’ called by the 16-party United Opposition Forum Assam (UOFA) did not elicit a significant response, with only a few districts like Sivasagar, Golaghat, Nagaon, and Kamrup witnessing the closure of shops and business establishments. In response to the planned protests, the Assam police issued notices to opposition parties, urging them to withdraw the hartal. The police warned of legal action against those failing to comply with the directive.

Criticism of the police notices surfaced, with Congress leader Debabrata Saikia condemning the Assam police department’s actions as being influenced by the BJP government. Saikia affirmed the party’s commitment to peaceful and democratic protests against the Act. The Sonitpur district administration in Assam imposed Section 144 of the CrPC, prohibiting meetings, demonstrations, processions, and sloganeering in public places to prevent potential untoward incidents.

Security measures have been heightened across the state, with additional police personnel deployed, including commandos, in sensitive areas. Police stations in Assam have been placed on high alert, and intensified patrolling and check-posts have been established on major roads to pre-empt any unrest. The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and 30 non-political indigenous organizations have planned torchlight processions for the evening and will commence a satyagraha from Wednesday (March 13) to further voice their opposition to the act.

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