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States » East

Citizenship Bill: AGP quits Assam govt; nude protests in Delhi, Tinsukia

New Delhi/Guwahati, Jan 7 (UNI) As the BJP-led Central government pushed ahead with the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), 2016, widespread protests engulfed Assam, taking a nude form in several places, including in New Delhi, while the BJP's ruling ally in Assam, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) quit the coalition over the issue.
Assam also braced for a statewide bandh tomorrow, called by the influential All Assam Students Union (AASU) and supported by 100 other organisations and political parties, including AGP and Opposition parties Congress and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).
The Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Bill laid it's report in both Houses of the Parliament today, which was approved by the Union Cabinet soon after, forcing the AGP to pull out of the coalition government in Assam.
AGP president and Assam Cabinet minister Atul Bora announced his party's exit from the coalition government after a meeting with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at New Delhi this afternoon.
Talking to media in the national capital, Bora said, "We are sure now that the CAB will be placed in the Lok Sabha tomorrow and Rajnath Singh has said the BJP will try it's utmost to get it passed.
"So, there is no question of staying in the government (with BJP in Assam)," he added.
Bora said the AGP tried at all levels to persuade the BJP against the Bill, but 'most unfortunately Delhi did not listen to us, BJP has trampled the faith of the people'.
He thanked parties such as JD(U) and Shiv Sena, among others, for supporting AGP in it's stance against the Bill.
Bora was accompanied by his two other Cabinet colleagues, Keshab Mahanta and Phani Bhusan Choudhury, and several other senior party leaders.
Meanwhile, protests were staged across Assam against the Bill, with the protests resounding in New Delhi also.
As many as 13 members of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and a conglomerate of 70 organizations staged a naked protest near the Parliament in New Delhi to register their dissent.
They were promptly arrested by the police and taken away from the place.
A similar nude protest was staged by an Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) activist in Tinsukia in eastern Assam.
Students and civil society organizations took the lead in the protests, including in main city Guwahati, as copies of the Bill were burnt, black flags hoisted and processions taken out.
The AASU observed ‘black day’ today against the decision of the JPC to submit its report in the Parliament, pointing that the panel had assured of re-visiting Assam to collect public opinion before submitting its report.
Copies of the Bill were burnt by AASU activities in different parts of the state.
Activists of KMSS observed ‘Hatred day’ and hoisted black flags in different parts of the state, including in front of the chief minister’s residence at Dibrugarh.
A sit-in demonstration was carried out by leading citizens of the state in Guwahati, while a procession was taken out by Left parties against the Bill.
Meanwhile, an 11-hour statewide bandh has been called from tomorrow morning 0500 hours by AASU against the move to enact the Bill.
The AASU’s bandh call has been supported by 30 associate organizations of AASU and North East Students Organisation (NESO), with the NESO also calling for a similar bandh across North Eastern region.
The bandh has also been supported by KMSS and 70 other organizations, besides AGP, main Opposition party Congress and AIUDF.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, seeks to give Indian citizenship to persecuted religious minorities of select neighbouring countries, which has been strongly opposed in Assam claiming that it will open floodgates for migration of Hindu Bengalis from Bangladesh and reduce indigenous Assamese people to minority.
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