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    In-Depth: Of Land, PM Modi and the Rhetoric

    The state, especially Upper Assam, has been witnessing protests and demands for repealing CAA since 2019

    GUWAHATI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Land Assam’s Sivasagar district on Saturday, January 23 — his first in the run-up to the state assembly elections likely in April.

    Though the PM attended the launching ceremony of the land patta distribution drive of the state government which the Opposition termed as nothing but a ‘clerical job’, the venue of the PM’s function was chosen ‘strategically’.

    Rang ghar in Sivasagar

    Sivasagar was the seat of the powerful Ahom dynasty, who ruled Assam for six centuries (1228-1826). It is part of Upper Assam, which has been witnessing strong opposition to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) since 2019.

    Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader, Debabrata Saikia, said, “BJP held the event at the historic Jerenga Pothar in Sivasagar targeting the Upper Assam region ahead of the polls. But it’s sad that the state government has failed to complete their commitments towards the region even after almost completion of their term.”

    Assam history’s icon Joymoti, the Ahom princess sacrificed her life for her husband Gadapani, in the Jeranga Pathar.

    Distributing land pattas, allotment certificates at the large public meeting, the Prime Minister though reiterated BJP’s commitment to save Assam’s language, culture and identity, ‘categorically’ remained silent on the contentious issues like CAA and implementation of Assam Accord’s Clause 6.

    The state, especially Upper Assam, has been witnessing protests and demands for repealing CAA since 2019. Various indigenous and student groups have been staging protests against CAA and demanded PM to either repeal the Act or leave Assam out of its purview.

    All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) chief advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya said, “No rest until CAA is repealed by the government.”

    AASU protest in Guwahati against CAA

    On Friday, police allegedly lathi-charged AASU members in Sonitpur while the activists taking out a statewide torchlight rally against Modi’s visit to the state and CAA. In several other locations, police detained AASU activists and blocked the rallies. “The government must understand that they can’t stop our agitation by applying muscle power,” Bhattacharya added.

    AASU said that while by granting citizenship to migrants under CAA, the BJP led government has been trying to settle migrants in the state; PM’s function of distributing land patta was a mockery to the people’s sentiments.  

    For Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP), the regional political party launched under the aegis of AASU and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), Modi has been only chanting the same rhetoric over and over again but not answering the real issues of the state.

    AJP believed that a land patta certificate is a basic right for the settlers and the BJP government was only trying to hype a ‘clerical job’.

    AASU torchlight rally in Guwahati obstructed by police (SB)

    AJP president Lurinjyoti Gogoi alleged that while the state government has failed to implement the recommendations of the Brahma Committee and to allot land to lakhs of displaced people of the state, the PM’s function is eyewash.

    Gogoi said, “The government is only trying to mislead the people of the state. In Assam, there are some 4, 75000 families of indigenous people who were displaced due to natural disasters and still crying for rehabilitation. AJP wants the PM to answer how many of them were allotted land pattas.”

    Sivasagar is also the constituency from where peasant leader Akhil Gogoi is likely to contest in the next state assembly polls. Akhil Gogoi was arrested for his anti CAA activities in December 2019 and continued to be behind the bars. He was charged under sections of sedition and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

    Read more : Assam: Minor boy killed in road mishap in Dhubri

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