The BJP’s vision document for Delhi assembly election that described people from the North East India as “immigrants” and “migrants” fired protests in the region on Wednesday, February 04, 2015.
Tension prevailed at the State BJP headquarters for over an hour as hundreds of National Students’ Union of India activists staged a dharna blocking entry to the BJP office. The activists shouted slogans and burnt the BJP party flags. The NSUI workers tried to break police barricade and demanded an unconditional apology by the BJP. Later, police reinforcements arrived at the scene and pushed the NSUI activists away.
Senior State Congress leaders led a procession in the city to Deputy Commissioner’s office. The All-Assam Students’ Union (AASU) took out a torchlight procession in the evening across the State to press for unconditional apology by the BJP. “The BJP leaders have tried to explain saying it was a clerical, printing mistake. We say it is a historic mistake. Terming the people of the Northeast as immigrants is an unpardonable crime. The BJP must tender unconditional apology to the entire people of the Northeast,” demanded AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharjya, who led the torchlight procession in the city.
A group of students took to the streets in Guwahati and burnt Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s effigies.
The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) activists took out a separate candle-light rally to protest the reference. “We cannot tolerate such behaviour anymore by national parties like the BJP. It has revealed the BJP’s negligence and anti-people approach. We demand the party apologize to the people of the region.” said AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharyya.
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) activists blocked roads in busy Dighalipukhri area for hours, while refusing to accept the BJP’s explanation. “The word immigrant exposes the BJP’s and RSS’s attitude towards the people from the northeast. Modi should apologize,” KMSS president Akhil Gogoi said. He also sthe KMSS would intensify protests till the Prime Minister apologizes.
National Students Union of India’s Miltan Handique condemned the reference and said it has again revealed the BJP has no respect for the region’s people. “Just after making promises of development and welfare, the party has treated us is such a bad manner.”
The Students’ Federation of India activists(SFI) marched till the BJP headquarters in Guwahati and demanded resignations of Union Ministers Kiren Rijiju and Sarbananda Sonowal.
It comes amid unhappiness over Modi’s announcement for going ahead with the land-swap deal with Bangladesh despite opposing it before the Lok Sabha election.
The State unit of the Communist Party of India(Marxist) alleged the use of the term “immigrants” was “reflective of its distorted mindset.” “Whatever explanations the BJP may have come up now, the fact remains that the BJP treats the people from North-east as “migrants”, or “immigrants” or “foreigners” in the country’s Capital and elsewhere,” alleged State CPI (M) Secretary Uddhab Barman.
Arunachal Civil Society(ACS) condemned the reference – says, “We will encourage China to stake claim over the region”. ACS chairman Patey Tayum asked how the ruling party could commit such a mistake. “We are not immigrants; we are part of the country. The term immigrant not only hurts the sentiments of people here, it raises questions about the Centre’s attitude towards people from the region.”
Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar asked the BJP to respect the Constitution and make a correction. “The northeast is part of India. People from the region – who reside in Delhi – are citizens of the country. Any Indian citizen can stay anywhere in the country.”
In Imphal, the CPI held a demonstration while its secretariat member N Mangi called the BJP’s attitude a “manifestation of its hidden agenda of racial discrimination towards the people of the region”.
The Military Chief of ULFA[I], Major General Paresh Baruah alias Paresh Asom thanks Modi & BJP to recall historical truth about sovereignty issue of Assam & other North Eastern states.