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Assam cannot take the burden of the consequences of CAB: Film maker Jahnu Barua

Assam is unique because for the past 600 years, we have had people from all communities, ethnic tribes, come and stay together because of the Assamese identity, but now, we are scared that we Assamese people will become a minority," said Barua.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 11, 2019, 08.58 AM IST
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"We the people of Assam have been asking for NRC for many years. Now when it was done properly, they don't want to retain it because they want only votes," Barua said.
NEW DELHI: National award winner and internationally acclaimed film maker Jahnu Barua, who has served as part of many government bodies both under the Modi government and UPA, has withdrawn his film Bhoga Khirikee (Broken Window) from the upcoming Assam State Film Festival in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), saying it "will completely alter the nature of the Assamese society and that the state cannot take the burden of the consequences of the bill".

"Till yesterday (Monday), I expected that some sense will prevail, but it didn't happen. We are disturbed because it is the future of the Assamese society which is at stake. Assam is unique because for the past 600 years, we have had people from all communities, ethnic tribes, come and stay together because of the Assamese identity, but now, we are scared that we Assamese people will become a minority," said Barua.

The film maker told ET that the move was aimed at "bringing disharmony to the state of Assam and diluting the Assamese identity by opening the state to others”. "Since independence, Assam had been burdened with much more than it can take. We are a people united by a language. We want to protect that. Assam cannot definitely take the burden of the consequences of the bill."

"We the people of Assam have been asking for NRC for many years. Now when it was done properly, they don't want to retain it because they want only votes," Barua said.

The 8th Assam State Film Awards and Film Festival, 2019, is scheduled to take place on December 26 and 27 in Guwahati and Barua's film was slotted to be screened during the festival. Barua also said that Ahom king Chaolung Sukaphaa and Vaishnavite scholar Srimanta Sankardev had made the state harmonious. "States have to have different policies depending on their histories and realities of the region."

Apart from being convenor of the steering committee of International Film Festival of India in 2017 and part of important official projects such as restoration of film archives and National Film Heritage Mission, Barua has been part of important government institutions, including the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) society, and state government's committee to decide policy of film making and entertainment.

He was also part of the Indian delegation that was sent to Cannes Film Festival last year to explore co-production opportunities between India and France.

Referring to the ongoing students’ organisations in the state against the Bill, Barua said the move could potentially trigger more unrest across Assam and the North-East. "I have worked with the government very enthusiastically because I feel I cherish the democracy that our country has. I treat every government as my government irrespective of who I had voted for, but I expect them to do the right thing."

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