Students announce NE bandh on 8 Jan against citizenship bill

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, Jan 6: Protesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 would be passed soon in Parliament, the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) has announced an 11-hour ‘Northeast bandh’, which will also be effective in Arunachal Pradesh, on 8 January.
The bandh is supported by the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU).
Addressing media persons at Arunachal Press Club here on Sunday, NESO coordinator Pritam Waii Sonam flayed the BJP government at the centre and the state, terming the BJP government “the biggest demographic threat to the Northeast region.”
“If the BJP government’s attitude remains this way, by dumping foreigners in the region, then the BJP as a party is the biggest demographic threat to the Northeast states,” Sonam said.
He clarified, however, that the NESO is not opposing any particular community, be it Hindu, Christian, Sikh or Muslim.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 is being tabled in Parliament on Monday. The NESO has accused the Centre of drafting the bill on the basis of religion.
“If the bill is passed, the entire Northeast region would witness unrest, and major civil disobedience movement against the Centre would start,” Sonam said.
“The citizenship bill is very detrimental to the Northeast, and Assam is already facing numerous issues,” he said.
The NESO had recently staged a protest rally at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to air the sentiments of the people of the Northeast region vis-à-vis the citizenship bill.
Rallying behind the NESO, AAPSU general secretary Tobom Dai informed that the AAPSU will enforce the 11-hour bandh across the state through its federating units.
“The AAPSU will be enforcing the bandh on 8 January. We will be directing our college, university and district student unions to enforce it in their respective jurisdiction,” Dai said.
He said the citizenship amendment bill has linkage with the AAPSU’s struggles against Chakma and Hajong refugees. Flaying the Centre for attempting to trample the sentiments of the region’s people by bringing the controversial bill, Dai said it was “a very tactful move by the central leadership to grant citizenship to refugees in the region.
“The Centre should listen to the rightful citizens of the country, instead of bulldozing them with the bill,” he said.
The AAPSU GS informed that magistrates, police, media persons, ambulances and milk vans would be exempt from the purview of the bandh.
AAPSU president Hawa Bagang also condemned the BJP government at the centre, saying that “with the current attitude of the Centre, India will one day lose the entire Northeast region.”
“If the Centre’s attitude towards the Northeast continues in such a way, the days are not far when the Northeast region might become an independent country,” said Bagang.
“We have no place for foreigners. Enough have been dumped in the Northeast states,” he said, and appealed to the district administrations and police throughout the state to cooperate during the bandh hours.