Protesting against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill on Friday, one man removed his clothes in front of the deputy commissioner’s office at Jorhat to express his disapproval of slapping of sedition charges on litterateur Hiren Gohain.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslims who fled religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before December 31, 2014.
Sahitya Akademi awardee and former Guwahati University professor Hiren Gohain was booked under sedition laws suo motu by the police on Thursday for his alleged remarks on the citizenship bill. The Gauhati High Court on Friday granted interim bail to him.
The man, identified as Mantu Dutta, came before the deputy commissioner’s office, shouted “Joi Aai Asom” (glory to mother Assam) and stripped alleging that the government is playing “dirty politics by slapping sedition charges on Hiren Gohain. He should not be arrested”.
Warning the BJP-led government in the state of massive agitations if the Bill is passed also in Rajya Sabha, Dutta shouted, “Time and again we have been saying the government should not play with the emotions of the people”.
Earlier, a group of men from Assam had stripped in front of the Parliament building claiming the Bill had made the people of Assam naked by threatening their identity, culture, language, state and heritage.
Assamese students in Delhi have also demonstrated in Delhi against the Bill, while a candlelight vigil was taken out on Thursday evening at the Shivaji Park in Mumbai, reports reaching in Guwahati said.
Meanwhile, Protesters burnt tyres and kept tree trunks on roads to block movement of vehicles in Bodoland Territorial Area districts during a 12-hour Assam bandh called by a conglomerate of tribal organisations on Friday.
The bandh has been called by the Coordination Committee of the Tribal Organisations of Assam (CCTOA) to protest a bill that seeks to grant Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to six ethnic communities in the state.
The bandh was near total in the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) such as Kokrajhar, Udalguri, Baksa and Chirang, Bongaigaon, besides in tribal-dominated areas of Morigaon, Nagaon, Hojai, Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong districts.
Security arrangements were stepped up in view of the bandh in Assam which is also witnessing massive protests over the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
This bandh comes close on the heels of a 11-hour strike called on Tuesday against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
Bandh sponsors have criticised the BJP-led Central governments move to pass the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Amendment Bill, stating it would eliminate the “genuine tribal people” of the state.
The bandh is also supported by Dimasa Students Union, Hmar Students Association, All Biate Students Association, Hrangkhol Students Association, All Dimasa Students Union, Khasi Students Union, Karbi Students Association.