Union home minister Amit Shah on Wednesday targeted the Congress for killing protesters during the Assam agitation over 30 years ago, while on the other hand, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi blamed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for shooting at anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protesters in the state.
“Congress, which fired at protesters during the Assam agitation to oust illegal immigrants, has no right to ask for votes. As if it was not enough, the party is now riding piggyback on Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF). Can a party which joins hands with AIUDF stop infiltration?” said Shah at a rally at Bijni, Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR).
More than 800 people were killed in police firing during the six-year-long Assam agitation against illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. The Congress was in power in Assam at that time. The agitation, which started in 1979, ended in 1985 with signing of the Assam Accord.
Highlighting last year’s Bodo peace accord, which led four Bodo rebel factions to give up arms, Shah promised to implement all its clauses within the next year. “Five years ago, we promised a terrorism-free, agitation-free Assam and development. We have fulfilled all three promises and have come to seek your blessings again,” Shah said.
“Rahul Gandhi, who comes to Assam for a picnic, says Ajmal is Assam’s identity. Can Ajmal be Assam’s identity instead of persons like Srimanta Sankardev, Bhupen Hazarika, Upendra Nath Brahma? Congress may try, but we will not allow Assam’s identity to change,” he added.
Meanwhile, Rahul spoke of Dipanjal Das, the first of the five persons killed in police firing at anti-CAA protests in December 2019. The Congress leader had met Das’ family at their residence in Chaygaon in December last year.
“Dipanjal was an idea and truly representative of what Assam is. It was not as if one youth was shot at, it felt as if the police (under BJP rule) had fired upon Assam and its people. It was an attempt to murder Assam. I am beginning my speech with Dipanjal, as I feel it’s the most important issue,” Rahul said, while addressing a rally in Chaygaon.
“The BJP government failed to provide Dipanjal the kind of job he deserved. And when he stood up peacefully for Assam, he was shot dead by the BJP government. That’s why the first of our five guarantees is what Dipanjal stood for i.e. non-implementation of CAA in Assam,” he added. Rahul addressed another rally at Barkhetri later.
The second phase of Assam polls will take place on April 1 while the third and final phase is scheduled on April 6.