Sahitya Akademi awardees Hiren Gohain and Homen Borgohain and eminent filmmaker Jahnu Barua along with ten other prominent personalities of Assam, have written to Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde urging him to deliberate on the prevailing “public outrage and anger in the country”.
Signatories to the letter include scientist Dinesh Chandra Goswami, Sahitya Akademi awardee Nagen Saikia, former Gauhati University vice-chancellor Gajendra Nath Talukdar and ex-principals of Cotton College and Gauhati Medical College, Udayaditya Bharali and N N Barman respectively.
The letter was made available to media on Monday, and it stated that the government has characterized the ongoing protests across the country as being organized by “mischievous elements” whereas the “reaction of thousands of people has earned the sympathy of all right-thinking elements of the society”.
The letter said.”It is quite possible that there may have been certain excesses, as mentioned in some press reports, and these are to be deplored but the public discontent and unrest can hardly be dismissed as wilful violence, as is being classified by the government.”
It said.”The younger generation as admitted by all impartial observers is particularly aggrieved and agitated by certain issues that have cast a dark shadow on their lives.
“In Assam, the threat of unchecked migration from neighboring countries like Bangladesh had been compared by the Supreme Court to a silent invasion and the NRC for Assam was expeditiously prepared under the monitoring of the highest court,”
The letter also said that at this juncture, granting citizenship to a large number of foreigners will put immense pressure on scant resources of the state and its native population.
The gravity of the situation may be gauged from the fact that while the population density of India is 375 per sq km, in Assam it has soared to 400 and given the total land comprising numerous water bodies and hills, the actual density here may even be as much as 1000 per sq km, it pointed out.
“When a democratically elected government in any country arbitrarily and insensitively ignores justified public anxieties and apprehensions and seeks to suppress the reasonable alarm with denial and severe repression, the public reaction to such an attitude tends to be an explosion of frustration and anger,” the letter said.
The signatories hoped that the apex court will pay attention to this issue in the interest of justice and healthy democracy as “people habitually look up to the Supreme Court to maintain our democracy with alacrity and vigour”.