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NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela Depicted as Asura in Silchar Protest

A group of people in Assam’s Barak Valley put up a banner with Hajela’s face on the body of Mahisasura lying at the feet of Goddess Durga.

Karishma Hasnat | CNN-News18

Updated:October 10, 2018, 3:01 PM IST
NRC Coordinator Prateek Hajela Depicted as Asura in Silchar Protest
The banner with 'Hajela Daman' depicting Prateek Hajela as the demon Mahisasura.
The Supreme Court approved NRC Coordinator in Assam, Prateek Hajela, was portrayed as a demon at a protest demonstration in Assam's Barak Valley on the occasion of Mahalaya.

The North East Linguistic and Ethnic Coordination Committee (NELECC) staged a protest in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 depicting Hajela as Mahisasura – the demon who was killed by Durga.

A flex put up by the organisation read ‘Hajela Daman’, and Goddess Durga was shown destroying the Asura - a photoshopped image of the bureaucrat.

“We have not done anything wrong. India is a democratic country and many organizations have staged protests in different ways. We have not made any unsuitable remark. But yes, we think Prateek Hajela is the reason why many people committed suicide after not finding their names in the NRC final draft,” said Shantanu Naik, Chief Advisor of NELECC.

A number of placards around the banner read, ‘We want justice for partition victims’, ‘We too belong to India’, ‘Pass Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016’.

(Scenes from the protest site)

While Brahmaputra Valley and Barak Valley stand divided over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, this act of protest against the state coordinator of National Register of Citizens has been vehemently criticised by the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and intellectuals.

“What they did is utterly meaningless. Only those who do not follow the legal process are capable of doing such things. Hajela is only performing his Constitutional duty under the directions of the Supreme Court. What NELECC has done in Silchar is an uncivilised, undemocratic reflection of our society,” said Lurin Jyoti Gogoi, AASU General Secretary.

Noted litterateur and former Director General of Assam Police, Harekrishna Deka called it a sense of resentment of political nature.

“When the Devi killed Mahisasura, his name became immortal with her, even if as an evil adversary of the goddess. The contemporary worshippers seem to make a bureaucrat as big as a demon challenger of Durga. At best, it is an ill-conceived humour; at worst, it is a depraved expression of anger. The people of Barak Valley are cultured and my feeling is, the right thinking people would not appreciate it,” said Deka.

Meanwhile, the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 is yet to decide on a huge number of representations from Barak and Brahmaputra valley, in support of and against the Bill in its present form.

Several organizations with sentiments against the bill have demanded another visit of JPC to Assam even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) decided to launch a mass outreach programme across the county over the proposed Bill. The amended Bill seeks to grant citizenship to religious minorities, except Muslims, from the neighbouring countries.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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