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News18 » India
2-min read

Paint The Streets in Assamese: Artistes Inspire Locals to Join Peaceful Uprising against Citizenship Act

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal took to Facebook to state that a section of people is deliberately spreading misinformation and trying to sway people from a clearer understanding of the new Act.

Karishma Hasnat | CNN-News18

Updated:December 16, 2019, 5:10 PM IST
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Paint The Streets in Assamese: Artistes Inspire Locals to Join Peaceful Uprising against Citizenship Act
Protestors gather for a concert organised by All Artists of Assam against Citizenship Amendment Act, at the AEI playground in Guwahati, Sunday. (PTI)

“Luitor Aakaxot Torar Torawoli

Paarot Deepawoli Tejore Mur”

(Glittering stars in the sky over the Luit

Glittering blood of mine over the bank)

- Jyoti Prasad Agarwala

Songs by Rupkonwar Jyoti Prasad Agarwala, the revered Assamese cultural icon, resonated with the thoughts of hundreds of people who gathered at the cultural protest against Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Guwahati on Sunday.

The unique protest, led by popular singer Zubeen Garg, witnessed the presence of noted artistes from the local film and music industry. People from all walks of life, of all ages and from all parts of the city gathered at the Chandmari ground for the ‘No CAA – Concert for Peace and Harmony’.

Academicians, civil servants and a large number of students too joined in and carried anti-CAA placards.

NO CAA

(At the protest site on Sunday)

Even as Chief Minister Sarbanada Sonowal and other party leaders are trying to convince people into accepting the Act, there was a loud uproar against the government at the venue.

The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) extended its wholehearted support to the demonstration, while encouraging people to take part in a peaceful and democratic movement.

“We will continue to protest together till the Citizenship Act is withdrawn, and we will protest peacefully. It is for the first time that we are witnessing a cultural protest of this nature. It’s overwhelming… Salute to all artistes of Assam,” said AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya in his address to the crowd.

Slogans like “Joi Aai Asom” and “Aah Oi Aah Ulai Aah” (come out, come out all) continue to motivate more and more people to join protests against the new legislation.

“It’s our culture. It’s how we feel... When people of Assam raise their voice, the entire world should hear,” said a protester, while joining in a chorus of one of the most-popular songs of the legendary Bhupen Hazarika — ‘Manuhe Manuhor Baabe (Man is for Humankind)’.

Garg called upon people to paint every banner and billboard in the street in Assamese.

“The artistes are protesting together with AASU for the first time. Through the medium of music, songs and performances, recitation, we will continue to protest peacefully,” said Garg, while reassuring the crowd that the movement will continue for the protection of rights and interests of indigenous people.

Earlier in the day, Sonowal took to Facebook to state that a section of people is deliberately spreading misinformation and trying to sway people from a clearer understanding of the new Act, while Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said “only a handful of people living in Assam” will get citizenship.

“We have taken the burden of illegal immigrants from 1951-1971. But after 1971, we will not accept a single migrant. If the state government knows there is only a handful of foreigners in Assam, ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah to accommodate them in Gujarat,” said Bhattacharya to a cheering crowd that chanted “Ho Ho”. “This is a call of bravery, enthusiasm and motivation,” the AASU advisor added.

Sonowal has said, “Action will be taken against any person found involved or inciting violence”.

The death toll from the volatile protests on Thursday has increased to five. Till Sunday, 200 people have been arrested and about 1,500 detained for their involvement in violence during the uprising, police said.

Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti chief and rights activist Akhil Gogoi and four other KMSS members are among those arrested for “inciting violence”.

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| Edited by: Sohini Goswami
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