CAA Protest: Varsities, Colleges In Entire Northeast Remained Shut On Wednesday
GUWAHATI, JANUARY 22—All the 40 universities and 800 colleges across the Northeastern states where the students have taken an oath to fight unitedly against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 (CAA), remained shut on Wednesday to bring pressure on the Central government to withdraw the new citizenship law.
The shutdown also coincided with the Supreme Court hearing on petitions challenging the CAA. During the hearing, the Supreme Court said that it would consider the petitions from Assam and Tripura separately because of the distinct nature of the case in NE states.
The student associations in all these universities and colleges also staged protest by organising demonstrations and holding lectures in their campuses.
The call for shutdown was given by organizations like the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), All Nagaland College Students’ Union (ANCSU), Nagaland University Research Scholar Forum (NURSF), Nagaland Theological Colleges’ Association (NTCA), Dimapur Naga Students’ Union (DNSU) and many other students organisations.
The varsities that remained shut include the Gauhati University, Dibrugarh University, North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Tezpur University, Assam Women’s University (AWU), Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Nagaland University, Rajiv Gandhi University, and North Eastern Regional Institute of Science and Technology (NERIST) university, Arunachal Pradesh.
Clarifying their stand against CAA, the representatives of the NE varsities reiterated that the student unions of the region cannot remain mute spectators when the people from the Northeast are strongly opposing the “unconstitutional, communal and unwarranted CAA” to safeguard their languages, heritages, cultures and identities.
Extending solidarity with the ongoing protests against CAA, the students from different NE universities also staged a protest programme in front of the Bhupen Hazarika Kolabhumi in Tezpur two days ago. Besides protesting against CAA, they demanded the government to ensure the protection of socio-cultural, political and economic rights of the Northeast people.
The student unions of the region also jointly opined that all the universities should be united to uphold a strong solidarity toward the larger issues of the NE states. Addressing the students, Tezpur University Council president Jyotish Pol Deka said, “The motive of our raising voice against CAA is not against any community, but to safeguard the interest of indigenous peoples’ rights as well as the rights of the entire population of the NE states.”
Kumar Rai, general secretary of Rajiv Gandhi University Students’ Union, urged the government to bring Assam under the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system. He also said, “CAA will affect the entire Northeast region. So, we will have to fight against this anti-Northeast CAA unitedly.”
On the other hand, urging the government to scrap CAA, Nagaland University Students’ Union general secretary Swyiweti Vemah said, “we cannot compromise with our languages, heritages, cultures and identities. We are with the people of Assam who have been protesting CAA uninterruptedly for the last few months so that they don’t feel they are alone. Without protecting the interest of Assam, the interest of other states of the Northeast cannot not be protected”.
As many as five people in NE region have lost their lives while protesting against the controversial CAA.