Assam Police today registered a case of sedition against three activists in an apparent attempt to quell the ongoing protests against the controversial Citizen Amendment Bill-2016.
The bill, passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, aims to grant citizenship rights to non-Muslim migrants from three neighbouring countries. The three -- Dr Hiren Gohain, Akhil Gogoi and Manjit Mahanta -- are spearheading the protests in Guwahati.
According to sources, the Latashil police registered an FIR against Mr Gohail for allegedly making controversial statements against the government at a public meeting in Guwahati earlier this week. The other leaders were accused of raising the idea of a sovereign Assam -- in keeping with the views of terrorist group ULFA -- at rallies covered by the media.
Meanwhile, protests continued in the Northeast for the second day after the Lok Sabha passed the controversial legislation. Roads were blocked in front of the state secretariat in Guwahati, and BJP leaders were shown black flags wherever they went. Members of 70 civil society groups spearheaded a non-violent agitation, resolving that PM Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and other party leaders will not be allowed to enter Assam for poll campaigning until the controversial bill is withdrawn. Mr Gogoi led hundreds of protesters in shouting slogans against the BJP government at the state secretariat, Dispur.
Orders prohibiting public gatherings were imposed across Guwahati in view of the ongoing agitation.
Even the BJP's regional allies are miffed. While the Asom Gana Parishad has parted ways with the ruling party in Assam, National People's Party chief Conrad Sangma is considering following suit. Sensing trouble brewing in the region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out with the assurance that his party means well. The 25 Lok Sabha seats in the northeast are crucial for the BJP's electoral prospects in the upcoming parliamentary polls.
"After this was passed... children of Ma Bharat, those who sing Vande Mataram from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh can now become citizens of India easily. We want to assure youngsters in the Northeast that their interests will be protected," he said at a rally in Maharashtra.