People protesting against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India’s Assam state on Wednesday celebrated the harvest festival 'Bhogali Bihu' but burnt copies of the new law in 'Mejis' (a structure made of bamboos, hay and wood) on the occasion.
The festival is celebrated with people clad in traditional “Gamosa” and bathing in the river. They later lit up Mejis and pray for the destruction of evil and for the wellbeing of all as per their tradition.
Locals stated that as they prayed for the end of all evils, they decided to burn copies of the CAA, as the new law aims to destroy our identity as Assamese.
The law (CAA) grants citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian immigrants fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. It, however, excludes Muslim immigrants, something which is deemed discriminatory by protesters.
“If people from other countries come and live here, we will become a minority in our own state,” one of the local residents said on the occasion.
Several activists also burnt copies of the CAA outside the government offices.
Protesters in Assam state have been opposing the CAA ever since it was passed in the Parliament in December last year.
As per reports, more than 25 people have died due to police action and more than 7,000 people have been detained in India’s Assam and Uttar Pradesh states during protests against the controversial new law.
Indian Home Minister Amit Shah, however, has insisted that no citizen of India has to fear the new law or the NRC.