Guwahati: Even as the stir against Anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) continued in various parts of Assam, the Gauhati High Court directed the Chief Secretary of Assam to restore mobile internet services in the state by 5 pm on Thursday.
A division bench comprising Justices Manojit Bhuyan and Saumitra Saikia gave the direction after a hearing public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Devakanya Doley. However, sources informed that the ban is likely to be lifted only by 9 am on Friday. Early on Thursday, anti-CAA protesters in large numbers gathered at the Assam Engineering Institute (AEI) playground in Chandmari here and peacefully continued their agitation.
In a significant development, the Meghalaya Assembly unanimously passed the resolution to implement Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the state. The Centre now has to amend the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873. A special session of the Assembly was called on Thursday for the passage of the resolution. Opposition chief whip and Congress MLA PT Swakmie had issued a whip asking all 19 Congress MLAs to support the government resolution. The clamour for ILP in Meghalaya grew after the Centre introduced ILP in the whole of Manipur just days before CAB became a law.
President of Assam Public Works (APW), Abhijeet Sharma, is likely to meet Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma on Friday where they will discuss on “One ILP for the Northeast, including Assam”.
This report assumes significance as the Centre has decided that states where Inner Line Permit is applicable as well as the ‘Sixth Schedule’ tribal areas in four Northeastern states will be exempt from the CAA.
Earlier in the day, a group of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators, a majority of whom are from upper Assam districts, met Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal at his official residence in Guwahati and requested his intervention so that the fears and doubts of people regarding the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) can be cleared as soon as possible.
The BJP legislators’ delegation also requested Sonowal to clarify his stand on all the major issues raised during the anti-CAA movement “one by one”.
Following this, probably, Sonowal has decided to address the media on Friday, where he is likely to elaborate on various issues relating to CAA.
The meeting of the MLAs assumes significance as the anti-CAA protesters have already targeted Assam BJP ministers, MLAs and local party leaders in their protest against the contentious legislation.
“We have requested the chief minister to take adequate measures to implement the Clause Six of the historic Assam Accord to give constitutional safeguard to indigenous people of Assam,” said AGP leader turned BJP MLA from Sootea constituency, Padma Hazarika.
On the protection of Assamese language, the delegation also requested the chief minister to adopt Cabinet decision to satisfy people so that Assamese language will be the state language in Assam forever and no threat will come to the language in days to come. The BJP MLAs also urged the state government to take a unanimous decision taking all stakeholders into confidence regarding granting of ST status to six Assam communities.
Referring to recent controversies relating to various government departments, Hazarika stressed on the immediate intervention of both chief minister Sonowal and state finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to solve the grievances of people, including the government employees. “No ego of any minister should affect the sentiment of the masses. Both the chief minister and state finance minister should ensure that,” he said.