The historic Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha with 125 votes in its favour. The bill had earlier been passed in the Lok Sabha. As such, CAB is now an Act of Indian law. Meanwhile, the Northeast, specifically Assam is gripped with violent protests. Keeping in mind the massive protests in the state, the government has requisitioned and deployed five columns of the Indian Army which are conducting regular flag marches and are ready for action, if the situation so demands. Three columns of the Assam Rifles have been requisitioned and deployed by the government of Tripura too. Meanwhile, internet services remain suspended and curfew remains imposed in major parts of the state.t
Arson, stone pelting and vandalism are being continuously reported from the state of Assam. Guwahati and Dibrugarh are the two main hotspots of the anti-CAB protests. But what is causing these protests in Assam? Firstly, there are parts of Assam which have not been exempted from the purview of CAB. Secondly, there is enormous amount of misinformation doing the rounds on both electronic and digital media. Just when you think the Indian media can’t stoop any lower, it gladly obliges to prove us wrong. Supplemented with the fear-mongering of liberal intellectuals, Assam and parts of the region are in a complete state of anarchy.
Not only has the intelligentsia and media ensured that the draft bill does not reach the public, but it has also successfully made sure that the people believe blindly in whatever lies and misinformation they are fed with. Taking note of the absolute disregard for norms with which the media was reporting on the protests, the IB Ministry cautioned all private TV news channels to strictly adhere to the codes of broadcast. This after many channels carried live footage of the rampage which the protesters were carrying out in Assam. Beaming live footage of violence can lead to similar reactions across the state, however the media simply refused to report ethically. Moreover, the ever-outraged journalists spread absolute falsehoods regarding the bill. The regional media of Assam is still showing live footage of the protests.
I can say this with a sense of confidence– none of the protesters out on the streets holding the state to ransom have cared to read the bill, which is now a law. Leave alone reading, they wouldn’t even know how many pages the bill is composed of. Not being versed with the contents of the bill, one simply cannot form an opinion about its merits and demerits. However, that is exactly what is happening in Assam and Northeast. The fear-mongering and rumour industry of the region is having successive field days. They are continuously inciting violence and fanning tribalist and linguistic hatred.
Had they read the bill, they would have realised that contrary to popular opinion, there is a cut-off date for granting citizenship to the persecuted minorities of the three neighbouring Islamic countries. That date is the 31st of December, 2014. The bill does not allow for anyone to simply ‘enter’ India by their free will. The sentiment in Assam and Northeast is that with the passage of CAB, Bangladeshis would swarm the region and this would be a legal invasion of ‘their’ lands! This despite the entire Northeast, barring parts of Assam, is immune to the applicability of CAB. However, there has been a concerted effort by intellectuals, and even politicians to make the people here believe that this bill would wipe out the identities of the tribal’s of Northeast. Rahul Gandhi went a step further and insinuated that this bill would lead to the ‘ethnic-cleansing’ of tribal’s. That the gullible people of this part of the country are blindly believing in all this load of bunkum in itself gives us an idea about the passivity of their minds, to accept just anything to be the truth.
This is what Modi and Shah have done to Assam..pic.twitter.com/DFBKF91ZLR
— Dhruv Rathee (@dhruv_rathee) December 11, 2019
Massive protests against CAB across Assam with this one at Sivasagar in the Brahmaputra valley. In Guwahati too, thousands are out on the streets.
There are reports of the army being deployed. It took decades for Assam to become peaceful & BJP is putting that at a huge risk. pic.twitter.com/UHLdBgZTJA
— Srivatsa (@srivatsayb) December 11, 2019
This is last night in Assam, where thousands protested India’s new citizenship bill.
India media is barely covering the opposition because they want to mask the truth.
People of conscience across the world are resisting Modi. Join us.pic.twitter.com/as9PkAWMHm
— Arjun Sethi (@arjunsethi81) December 11, 2019
This is from Barpeta Assam.
People protests against Anti-Muslim #CitizenshipAmmendmentBill2019 and burn effigy of Home Minister Amit Shah.
We need more voices against this CAB and NRC.
— Md Asif Khan آصِف (@imMAK02) December 11, 2019
These are the tweets of those who are continuously fear mongering the people of Northeast. These same people, however, will not comment on the news items listed below.
কেবৰ আন্দোলনত এজনো প্ৰতিবাদী ছাত্ৰৰ মৃত্যু হ'লে আমি বহি নাথাকো। আমিও আক্ৰমন কৰিম। আলফা (স্বাঃ) সেনাধ্যক্ষ পৰেশ বৰুৱাৰ হুংকাৰ।
Posted by News Now Assam & NE on ಬುಧವಾರ, ಡಿಸೆಂಬರ್ 11, 2019
In this Facebook post by ‘News Now Assam and North East’, Paresh Barua, the ULFA chief is seen threatening the Assam police with dire consequences if the protesters are assaulted. Notably, the comments on this Facebook post are all in favour of the statement by the militant with many people saying ‘Very Nice’ and ‘Good Step’, etc.
The reality of the state of Assam is that the protesters have taken law into their own hands, are on a rampage, and are harassing anybody who is not obliging to their opinions on the matter.
কেব বিৰোধীয়ে কলকতাৰ বঙালী যুৱকক ৰাজপথত আৱদ্ধ কৰি বাধ্য কৰালে "জয় আই অসম" দিবলৈ। অসম বন্ধৰ সময়ত লখিমপুৰৰ নাৰায়নপুৰত সংঘটিত হ'ল এই ঘটনা।
News Now Assam & NE ಅವರಿಂದ ಈ ದಿನದಂದು ಪೋಸ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡಲಾಗಿದೆ ಸೋಮವಾರ, ಡಿಸೆಂಬರ್ 9, 2019
In this video, a Bengali boy is being seen heckled and harassed by ‘protesters’ as he is made to chant ‘Jai Ai Axom’. This is not an isolated case. Many such videos have surfaced, but keeping in mind the situation on the ground, they are not being publicized.
Apart from this, protesters in Guwahati blocked the transportation of oxygen cylinders to Guwahati Media College and Hospital (GMCH) leading to mayhem in the hospital as acute shortage of oxygen supply for patients followed. Meanwhile, protesters are also targeting ambulances with patients on-board.
Assam has been pushed into a vicious spiral of violence. As much as we are to blame the media and intellectuals, the protesters too must admit to their share of hooliganism. If only the protesters had not listened to whatever was being fed to them and had instead gone through the bill and judged it themselves, the situation on-ground would have been completely different.
On December 15th and 16th, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was slated to visit Guwahati for an annual summit and was to be accompanied with PM Narendra Modi. However, reports now suggest that the venue is going to be shifted to Delhi’s Hyderabad House. Whenever a foreign dignitary visits India, especially a state head, the venue for the visit usually happens to be Delhi or Mumbai. In some cases, it is Hyderabad or Bengaluru and perhaps Ahmedabad to an extent. This could have been a huge opportunity for the state and its people to showcase their rich culture and heritage to the international community. Abe’s visit to Guwahati could have put the city in a significant place on the world map, however it now seems like a lost one now. Protesters brought down and burnt flex banners and posters related to the summit. This is not the first time Guwahati has earned a bad reputation. In 2017, the Australian cricket team bus was attacked after India lost the match.
I want to assure my brothers and sisters of Assam that they have nothing to worry after the passing of #CAB.
I want to assure them- no one can take away your rights, unique identity and beautiful culture. It will continue to flourish and grow.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 12, 2019
The Central Government and I are totally committed to constitutionally safeguard the political, linguistic, cultural and land rights of the Assamese people as per the spirit of Clause 6.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 12, 2019
In all this, the only leader to reassure the people of Assam and appeal for calm was PM Narendra Modi. All others, frankly, are too busy scoring political brownie points and spreading absolute falsehoods about the law.