The All Assam Students Union, which is spearheading protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), celebrated Magh Bihu by burning a 50-feet tall effigy of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on January 15th, 2020 in Upper Assam’s Dibrugarh.
Photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav and other Bharatiya Janata Party and Asom Gana Parishad leaders were also pasted on the body of the effigy.
The effigy with 13 heads, made of bamboo, cane and hay, was lit by AASU activists and local residents. They also raised anti-CAA and anti-government slogans while lighting the effigy.
Sonowal has become the main target of the protests against the CAA in the state. Once hailed as the ‘Jatir Nayak’ (hero of the community), Sonowal today is called the “betrayer of the Assamese people”.
Earlier, the AASU had hung effigies of Sonowal at twenty-two places in Nalbari district. The Chief Minister visited his hometown on January 15th, 2020, after a gap of more than a month. He was greeted with black flags at Mohanbari by AASU activists.
As per the CAA, the members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have entered India from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31st, 2014 facing religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
Those who are opposed to the legislation say that the CAA violates the Assam Accord and is against the basic tenets of the country’s constitution.