Wednesday, May 29, 2024
India News

Anti-CAA bandh: Assam CM reminds political parties of High Court restriction

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. File.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. File.
| Photo Credit: PTI


Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on March 10 said political parties may be de-registered if they call for a bandh against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) of 2019.

The Act allows non-Muslims who fled alleged religious persecution in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan and took refuge in India by December 31, 2014, to get citizenship faster than the normal process.

Also read | Four years on, CAA awaits political nod for its implementation

Anti-CAA sentiments have been brewing in Assam since Home Minister Amit Shah said the rules of the Act would be framed ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

“People have the right to protest. But political parties should keep a Gauhati High Court order in mind before announcing bandhs against the CAA or their registration may be cancelled,” the Chief Minister told journalists at an event, his warning directed at the Congress-headed Opposition alliance of 16 parties.

In a March 2019 order, the high court said all kinds of bandhs, including road and rail blockades, were illegal and unconstitutional. It also directed the Assam government to constitute a Bandh Loss Compensation Fund and paved the way for recovering losses from those who called for shutdowns.

“A students’ body announcing bandh is a different matter, but if political parties violate the high court order we will complain to the Election Commission of India citing the court order,” Mr. Sarma said.

The Chief Minister said that Assam had set a precedent by approaching the Supreme Court to get a hated piece of legislation scrapped.

“The IM(DT) [Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals)] Act was an example that going to court is a better option than hitting the streets and disrupting normal life. There is no point in protesting against a Bill passed by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. If you can justify that the Union and State governments erred in coming up with the CAA, the apex court will intervene and we will accept its verdict,” the Chief Minister said.

The Supreme Court in 2005 struck down the IM(DT) enacted by the Indira Gandhi government in 1983 to provide special protections against undue harassment to ‘illegal immigrants’ – a term generally used for people from Bangladesh – affected by the anti-foreigners Assam Agitation of 1979-85.

The IM(DT) Act was applicable only in Assam unlike The Foreigners Act of 1949 for the rest of the country.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *