“Luitor Aakaxot Torar Torawoli Paarot Deepawoli Tejore Mur”
(Glittering stars in the sky over the Luit
Glittering blood of mine over the bank)
- Jyoti Prasad Agarwala
Songs by Rupkonwar Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, the revered Assamese cultural icon, resonated with the thoughts of hundreds of people who gathered at the cultural protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Guwahati today. The unique protest led by popular singer Zubeen Garg witnessed the presence of noted artistes from the Assamese film and music industry. People from all walks of life, of all ages and from all parts of the city gathered at the Chandmari field for the “No CAA – Concert for Peace and Harmony”.
Academicians, civil servants and a large number of students too joined in the protest carrying anti-CAA placards. Even as Assam Chief Minister Sarbanada Sonowal and other party leaders are still trying to convince people into accepting the Act, there was a loud uproar against the government at the venue. The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) extended wholehearted support to the protest demonstration, encouraging people to take part in a peaceful and democratic movement.
“We will continue to protest together till the Citizenship Act is withdrawn, and we will protest peacefully. It is for the first time that we are witnessing a cultural protest of this nature. It's overwhelming… Salute to all artistes of Assam,” said AASU Advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya while addressing the crowd.
“Joi Aai Asom”, “Aah Oi Aah Ulai Aah” (Come out, come out all) slogans continue to motivate more and more people to join the anti-Citizenship Act protests.
“It’s our culture. It’s how we feel... When people of Assam raise their voice, the entire world should hear,” said a protester while singing in chorus one of the most-popular songs of Bhupen Hazarika – 'Manuhe Manuhor Baabe (Man is for Humankind)’.
Zubeen Garg called upon people to paint every banner and billboard in the street in Assamese.
“The artistes are protesting together with AASU for the first time. Through the medium of music, songs and performances, recitation – we will continue to protest peacefully,” said Garg, reassuring the crowd that the movement will continue for the protection of rights and interests of the indigenous people.
The state Chief Minister took to Facebook Live early Sunday morning, stating that a section is deliberately spreading misinformation and trying to sway people from a clearer understanding of the Citizenship Act. Assam Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said “only a handful of people living in Assam” will get citizenship.
“We have taken the burden of illegal immigrants from 1951-1971. But after 1971, we will not accept a single migrant. If the state government knows there is only a handful of foreigners in Assam, ask Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to accommodate them in Gujarat,” said Samujjal Bhattacharya, infusing a sense of enthusiasm and energy into the crowd chanting – “Ho Ho”.
“This is a call of bravery, enthusiasm and motivation,” remarked Bhattacharya.
Chief Minister Sonowal also stated that “action will be taken against any person found involved or inciting violence”.The death toll from the volatile protests on Thursday increased to five. Till Sunday, 200 people were arrested and around 1,500 were detained for their involvement in violence during the uprising, police said. Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti Chief and rights activist Akhil Gogoi and four other KMSS members have also been arrested for “inciting violence”.