Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on December 20th, 2019 appealed the people of the state to maintain peace as massive violent protests rocked the state last week over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA).
Addressing the media in Guwahati for the first time after the curfew was lifted and mobile internet services were restored in the state, Sonowal said, “We have immense respect for peaceful protesters. The main culprits are the one who incited the students. I appeal to people to not be misled regarding the citizenship law. Several negative elements were involved in the protests.”
Sonowal said that Assam doesn’t need to be afraid of the newly enacted CAA. “Till I am the Chief Minister of the state, there is no threat to Assamese language, literature, culture and tradition. I appeal to the people to maintain peace and not get misled”, the chief minister added.
The Chief Minister further invited the protesting students’ bodies and organisation for talks over the CAA. He also mentioned that Clause 6 of the Assam Accord will be “successfully implement in the state”.
He said those creating unrest in Assam will not be spared and assured that the rights of the people of Assam are “safe”.
“A section of people is trying to aggravate the situation by spreading misinformation and misleading people by saying that 10-15 million people are going to take citizenship in Assam. It’s false propaganda,” he said.
The state is witnessing one of the worst violent protests in its history. Rail stations, a post office, a bank, a bus terminus, shops, several vehicles and other public properties have been either set ablaze or ransacked. Four people have been killed in police firing so far, while an oil tanker driver was charred to death when his vehicle was set on fire in Orang.
As protests continue in the state, a group of Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs on December 19th, 2019, urged Sonowal to intervene to allay the fear and doubts among people regarding the law.
Sootea legislator Padma Hazarika informed that all the 14 MLAs pointed out to Sonowal that they are facing the wrath of the people due to the new citizenship act.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill smoothly sailed through Parliament after the Rajya Sabha passed it on December 11th, 2019. 125 members of the Rajya Sabha voted in favour while 105 MPs voted against the Bill.