• Effects of singularity in a mass protest: Anti-CAA movement


    Guwahati: Solidarity has always been a part of any movement, which has brought significant changes in the realm of governing bodies and the demands of large masses. Protests with solidarity have always made it up to win liberty and privileges.

    The anti-CAA protests started with a broader perspective. However, gradually, it has been limited towards different objectives raised by different groups protesting against the CAA. The history of anti-CAA protests draws years back, unlike one-year-long protests by farmers' unions. Then why did the power decide to call for a meet over a year long farmers' protest and not to the substantial mass protest of the anti-CAA movement?

    After enacting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) by the government on 12 December 2019, the blaze of protests began in Assam. It's been more than three years now, and nothing has concerned the government. The people of Assam expected the leading organizations like All Assam Students' Union (AASU) to unite people for their proposals. AASU played a significant role during the Anti-Foreigners Agitation in 1979–1985. Similarly, the state's people wanted AASU to raise their voices on mass gatherings against CAA. The reflections of both the anti-CAA protests and the Assam movement remained similar except those leading the agitation masses.

    Leadership must be ideal and moving; only then can an agitation be worthwhile. The leaders of the Assam movement and the present anti-CAA movement have significantly different dogmas. What has followed the leaders of the anti-CAA movement is showing their singularity. However, singularity isn't accepted by all. Movements need to be massive and must follow solidarity.

    CAA aimed to bring reliability for the non-muslim immigrants from neighboring states to become citizens of India, violating clauses 5 and 6 of the Assam Accord, which brought peace by bringing a halt to the Assam movement. Soon after the government's announcement regarding the implementation of CAA, many people came into the streets. They started protesting against the government's decision to allow foreigners citizenship status.

    The Anti-CAA movement spread from one state to another in a quiet, swift manner, yet the objectives of protests varied accordingly. Singularity was displayed by organizations like AASU, AJYCP, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), etc. These protesting groups started raising voices towards the government's decision to provide citizenship for foreigners, violating clause 5 of the Assam Accord.

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    When asked regarding the standstill of the movement, leaders of anti-CAA protesting groups replied that the call-off for the agitation took place to secure students' future. AASU leader Lurinjyoti Gogoi once said, "You cannot say that the protests have lost their impact. The demonstrations are still going on. Be it on the earth or the legal battlefield. Our eyes are on Delhi and the Supreme Court hearings. We have slackened the protests because of the ongoing examinations. But the protest will continue until the CAA sees its end."

    Commenting more on the anti-CAA movement, Palash Changmai of the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) stated that If we block the National Highway in protest, which is that going to harm? The students, without the shadow of a doubt. Thus, keeping these things in view, we have put the protests on the backburner for the moment." 

    What is more significant in agitation is to have groups and people of different geographical regions come together under one tree. If groups protest for a reason with their own aims and objectives, the crucial aim of a protest goes in vain. In the Assam anti-CAA protest, different protesting groups make comments individually regarding CAA seem to be misleading. It highlights how these groups should have a good roundtable discussion upon bringing a change and not passing comments on each other.

    Rajor Dal chief Akhil Gogoi lately made remarks upon CAA martyrs. He said that special funding would be provided for those who have lost their lives during the anti-CAA movement. Gogoi also asks the ruling party to discuss CAA in the assembly meeting. Akhil Gogoi said, "I have been the most tourtued person during the entire CAA movement. I know things well." If CAA comes into force, it will provide a way for 20lakh Bangladeshis to get citizenship and further open up a way for others to come and enter Assam.

    Student body All Assam Students' Union (AASU) 's chief adviser Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya also commented on the downfall of anti-CAA protests in the state. Bhattacharya said that anti-CAA protests would begin once again. He further denied the allegations made by Raijor Dal chief Gogoi. Gogoi has alleged that the agitation has come to a standstill due to the national organizations' poor functionalism. AASU leader Bhattacharya further said that song is a part of a movement and it will continue to bring solidarity and nationalism among people.

    Unable to bring a sense of solidarity alone, leaders sought icon singers like Zubeen Garg. Garg recently commented that the present government hardly understands our people and the concerns over CAA. Ministers have changed, but there is no outcome regarding the movement demands as of now. 

    Comments and discussions upon the anti-CAA movement are overflowing in Assam. Every political party or organization leader talks about how the anti-CAA movement will start again. However, no one has expressed concern about the drawbacks for such a vast movement to come to a standstill. If such individualism prevails in the state, the future of the anti-CAA movement will definitely be under the grey sky.

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