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    Peaceful protests lend divergent hues to CAA narrative in Assam

    Peaceful protests lend divergent hues to CAA narrative in Assam

    Peaceful protests lend divergent hues to CAA narrative in Assam
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    By Karishma Hasnat   IST (Published)

    Mini

    A group of artists staged a unique demonstration in Golaghat district on Thursday through paintings and graphical representations of the Citizenship Act.

    With the Citizenship (Amendment) Act still overshadowing every other issue, there is no reprieve from protests in Assam — after the dramatic escalation of violence a fortnight ago, the anti-CAA protests are now peaceful amid tight security. The government is seen making all out efforts to win back trust, and with mobile internet services restored, arguments are emerging in social media both for and against the contentious legislation.
    A group of artists staged a unique demonstration in Golaghat district on Thursday through paintings and graphical representations of the Citizenship Act.
    “We are artistes, and we have a lot of things going on in our mind regarding present times — restlessness, anger, anxiety. I have drawn this painting depicting CAA as a lethal injection that kills — a long needle killing the tiny human embryo in a mother’s womb,” said Rishikesh Bora while explaining his art, and comparing the Citizenship Act to “a toxic substance threatening current and future generations”.
    For people living along the northern Dhubri sector of Indo-Bangladesh border in western Assam, their “friends” from Bangladesh have more than a single perspective to share on the issue. Living at a distance of about 500 metre from the border at Jhaskal village, 45-year old Deep Roy believes that “minorities are managing to live in tough conditions” in the neighbouring country.
    “We have no problem if they come here. I have come to know of many stories of minorities living in Bangladesh- my friend Biswajit Saha is the proprietor of Partha Sarathi Traders there, and he has told me of the difficulties these people go through. I believe, it is misinformation that migrants would keep coming to Assam from Bangladesh with the implementation of CAA,” said Roy, a businessman who hails from the Koch-Rajbongshi community that makes about 17-19 percent of the population living along the 134.5 km border in northern Dhubri – the undivided Goalpara district, of which Dhubri is a part has a rich history to tell about the erstwhile Koch dynasty.
    Not too far away from Deep Roy’s residence, and at a distance of about 4 km from the fully-fenced border lives Mizanur Rahman Sarkar, a librarian at the Golakganj College. The 50-year-old temporary government servant of Lakhimari village is wary of the threat posed by the Citizenship Act.
    “I have been to Bangladesh a couple of times, and I have never met or heard of any victim of religious persecution. Of the 22 percent population of Hindus in Bangladesh in 1970, they are now left with just 7 percent — almost 31 percent of Hindus in Bangladesh occupy government jobs. I spoke with one of my friends there — he said not just Hindus, but even Muslims in Bangladesh see India as a big country of opportunities. Since Independence, they have been coming to Assam, not because they suffered persecution, but for opportunities,” said Sarkar.
    “This Act has created problems in the entire country. The government has set a cut-off date of 2014 — what if tomorrow, in 2020 or later, someone under the pretext of suffering religious persecution in Bangladesh wants to come to India — what will they do with those people? It will create division between communities under same religion. Assam will once again have to bear the migration burden,” he added.
    Across the state, students continue to be a part of the peaceful anti-government and anti-CAA demonstrations — there is no sign of fatigue, and they have not lost patience.
    “There can be absolutely no reason for anybody to support the CAA. It violates the spirit and essence of the Constitution. We will not allow a single foreigner — Hindu or Muslim — who has entered Assam after March 25, 1971, to be given Indian citizenship,” said Mriganka Das, a college student from Guwahati as many others expressed a similar sentiment.
    -With inputs from Jyotirmoy Chakraborty
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