Hundreds of students from Rajiv Gandhi University ( RGU ) on Monday took out a symbolic Torch Light Procession ( mashaal juloos ) here at its varsity campus in protest against the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill ( CAB ).
Students burnt the effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah and shouted slogans against the bill and the BJP-led governments in Centre as well as in the state.
Coming down heavily on the BJP government, NESO coordinator Pritam Waii Sonam said “Instead of announcing developmental packages for the Northeast region, the central government is only giving us AFSPA and CAB.”
Sonam said there will be no more requests, prayers, or appeasement from the indigenous people of NE. We will take out democratic protests against this bill till our last breath, he added.
Lamenting the apathy of the central government, the NESO leader said AAPSU has been fighting against the illegal refugees, Chakma and Hajongs since for the last 50 years but the Modi-led central government has overridden it in one single night which has deeply hurt indigenous sentiments.
RGU Research Scholars’ Forum General Secretary Prem Taba said the CAB is not an ordinary bill, but a directive from the central government to kill the indigenous people.
“The bill if implemented will completely annihilate the tribal population in the state. The government is not doing enough for its own people and on the other hand, they want to bring in the illegal refugees. The amount of agitations taken out by indigenous communities northeast-wide in the recent past itself is a manifesto of how detrimental the bill can be,” Taba said.
There should be no bargaining in this, we demand a complete scrapping of the bill, he added.
RGUSU President Dopum Sonam said the union will submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister through the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh after the procession.
He said the central government has become pro-refugees and anti-indigenous.
We will not rest. Our protest will continue until the bill is completely revoked, Sonam said.
Apart from RGU students, representatives of NESO, AAPSU, Arunachal Students Union Shillong, Students’ Union of NERIST, NERIST Research Scholars’ Association and various other student organizations attend the torchlight procession.
This is not the first time that the university students have taken out such protests. Earlier on February 9, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi was inaugurating and laying foundations of projects in the state at IG Park, students of RGU boycotted the PM’s visit, burnt his effigies and staged protests denouncing the citizenship amendment bill (CAB).