Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Guwahati on Friday on a two-day visit to the Northeast amid protests against the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB).
Student’s bodies had declared that they will protest against the proposed amendment during PM’s visit.
It is Modi’s third visit to Assam since December 25, when he inaugurated the Bogibeel bridge in the state. During his last visit in January, in a rally in Silchar, he said the government was committed to bringing the CAB.
On Saturday, PM Modi will inaugurate several projects and address public meetings in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Tripura.
The All Assam Students Union (AASU), which is leading the protests against CAB, staged a protest with black flags at its office in Guwahati as Prime Minister’s cavalcade made its way to Raj Bhawan. The state administration has made heavy security arrangements for Modi’s visit.
Earlier in the day, the All Assam Students Union, and 38 other organisations representing indigenous groups burnt copies of the bill all over the state.
On Saturday morning, Prime Minister Modi will head to Arunachal Pradesh where he is scheduled to lay the foundation of the greenfield airport at Hollongi in Parum Pare district, inaugurate a 110 MW hydro electric project, and lay the foundation of Sella Tunnel.
Post noon in Changsari on the outskirts of Guwahati, Modi is scheduled to lay the foundation of a six-lane bridge over river Brahmaputra, inaugurate Numaligarh Refinery Ltd’s bio-diesel refinery, the Barauni-Guwahati gas pipeline, North East gas grid, besides kicking off construction work of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), also the venue of his public meeting.
In Agartala, the Prime Minister will address a public meeting, unveil the statue late king Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur at the airport, inaugurate the 23-kilometre railway track between Gomati’s district’s Garjee and Belonia in South Tripura.
In Assam, the BJP leaders said they plan to mobilise around 3 lakh workers for the rally.
“It is a government programme. AIIMS, bridge over Brahmaputra, are all part of Assam Accord. We need development but we do not want the bill,” said Samujjal Bhattacharya, the chief advisor of AASU. “The volume of the people in protests will be more than that of Prime Minister’s meeting,” he said, adding that they will burn effigies of the PM.
“We will hold protests against the Bill across the Northeast tomorrow. In Tripura, we will boycott his programme,” said Upendra Debbarma, joint secretary of North East Students Union (NESO), an umbrella body of students organizations from the Northeast.
Slamming the protesters, Assam minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya said, “These are all allies of the Congress who are protesting. What do you expect from them?”
The three MPs from Tripura, all belonging to CPI(M), said they, too, would boycott the visit.