The influential All Assam Students Union (AASU), which is spearheading the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, on Friday (December 13) accused Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal of “surrendering before the Delhi leadership” and vowed to continue a “non-violent mass movement” against the contentious legislation.
Chief Adviser of AASU Samujjal Kumar Bhattachaya also claimed that President Ram Nath Kovind has “violated the Constitution” by giving assent to the “communal bill”, which was passed by the Parliament on Wednesday(December 11).
“Our stand is clear. We will not accept, never accept the new law. The MPs have voted in favour of the bill but people of Assam have rejected it through a mass movement,” he told PTI.
“Violence has to stop. There is no place for violence in protests. Some people are trying to give a colour of violence. If someone indulges in violence, the government will get the opportunity to end the movement. We appeal to people to stop violence. All protesters should be guarded against violence. Otherwise we will not be successful. It has to be a non-violent movement,” he said.
Two persons were killed in police firing after frenzied mobs blocked roads in different parts of Assam, burned discarded tyres and menaced commuters by bludgeoning their vehicles with sticks and stones. Two railway stations were torched while houses of several legislators, including the private residence of Sonowal, were attacked by mobs.
It was AASU, which led a non-violent agitation against illegal immigrants in 1979-85 and the movement culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985.
Bhattacharya slammed chief minister Sonowal, his once comrade-in-arms, for his support to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, which got presidential assent on Thursday night.
In 1990s, AASU was led by Sonowal and Bhattacharya as president and general secretary respectively. The AASU chief adviser claimed that President Kovind has “violated the Constitution” by giving assent to the “communal bill in a hurry”.