Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Sunday appealed for peace, saying that his government was committed to protecting all genuine citizens after a wave of state-wide violent protests against the controversial Citizenship Act. The statement from the chief minister came hours before the death of another protester, who succumbed to the bullet injuries.
"We are committed to protect all genuine citizens and the rights of people of Assam. I call upon all sections of the society to thwart the elements who are misleading the people of Assam on the Citizenship Act and indulging in violence and together continue the growth journey of Assam," Sonowal said in a video message posted on his Twitter handle.
The tweet from the Assamese chief minister also came amid reports that the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), a key ally of the ruling BJP in Assam, has decided to move the Supreme Court against the Citizenship Act.
We are committed to protect all genuine Indian citizens and the rights of the people of Assam.— Sarbananda Sonowal (@sarbanandsonwal) December 15, 2019
I call upon all sections of the society to thwart the elements who are misleading the people on #CAA & indulging in violence and together continue the growth journey of Assam. pic.twitter.com/RTGeWO2QCI
Following the violent protests across Assam, several state BJP leaders have also quit the party to oppose the amended Citizenship Act. Senior BJP leader Jagadish Bhuyan and Assamese superstar Jatin Bora have resigned from the BJP over the act.
The controversial act that grants Indian citizenship to illegal non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan has triggered a wave of violent protests in several states, including Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and West Bengal.
While protests are being held in most parts of the country, they are more visible and violent in north-eastern states. People of Assam claim they will be 'overrun' by migrants from Bangladesh. Thousands of troops have been deployed and at least five protesters have died so far.
Internet and SMS services in Assam have been suspended with a curfew in Guwahati and Shilong. Opposition parties across India say the bill is discriminatory and violates the Constitutional ethos. Congress President Sonia Gandhi says the Bill will destroy the soul of India.