Rights

In Letter to CJI, Prominent Assam Personalities Seek Deliberation in CAA Stir

The letter said that at this juncture, granting citizenship to a large number of refugees will put immense pressure on resources of the state.

Guwahati: Ten prominent personalities of Assam, including Sahitya Akademi awardees Hiren Gohain and Homen Borgohain and eminent filmmaker Jahnu Barua, have written to Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde urging him to deliberate on the prevailing “public outrage and anger in the country”.

The letter, made available to the media on Monday, stated that the government has characterised the ongoing protests across in the country as being organised by “mischievous elements” whereas the “reaction of thousands of people has earned the sympathy of all right-thinking sections of the society”.

“It is quite possible that there may have been certain excesses, as mentioned in some press reports, and these are to be deplored but the public discontent and unrest can hardly be dismissed as wilful violence, as is being currently done by the government,” the letter said.

Also read: ‘This Is the Second Assam Agitation’: Ethno-Nationalist Leader Shrinkhal Chaliha

Signatories to the letter include Sahitya Akademi awardee Nagen Saikia, scientist Dinesh Chandra Goswami, former Gauhati University vice-chancellor Gajendra Nath Talukdar and ex-principals of Cotton College and Gauhati Medical College, Udayaditya Bharali and N.N. Barman respectively.

“The younger generation as admitted by all impartial observers is particularly aggrieved and agitated by certain issues that have cast a dark shadow on their lives.

“In Assam, the threat of unchecked migration from neighbouring countries like Bangladesh had been compared by the Supreme Court to a silent invasion and the NRC for Assam was expeditiously prepared under the monitoring of the highest Court,” it said.

The letter said that at this juncture, granting citizenship to a large number of foreigners will put immense pressure on scant resources of the state and its native population.

Also read: India Needs to Understand Why the Northeast is Protesting Against CAA

The gravity of the situation may be gauged from the fact that while the population density of India is 375 per sq km, in Assam it has soared to 400 and given the total land comprising numerous water bodies and hills, the actual density here may even be as much as 1000 per sq km, it pointed out.

“When a democratically elected government in any country arbitrarily and insensitively ignores justified public anxieties and apprehensions and seeks to suppress the reasonable alarm with denial and severe repression, the public reaction to such an attitude tends to be an explosion of frustration and anger,” the letter said.

The signatories hoped that the apex court will pay attention to this issue in the interest of justice and healthy democracy as “people habitually look up to the Supreme Court to maintain our democracy with alacrity and vigour”.