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“I Write This 15 Mins Before The Internet Shutdown In My State Assam”

This article was written by a YKA user from Assam just fifteen minutes before the government shut down internet services in the state for 24 hours, starting at 7 pm, on December 11.

I beg of you, fellow Indian, read through till the end, for you deserve to know why.

After Tripura, it’s Assam.

I won’t try to convince you, fellow (non-Assamese/ non-Northeast) Indian, why I, an insignificant, apolitical SNS-introvert, created an account on YKA moments ago to write this post.

At a protest organised by the Northeastern community in Mumbai against the Citizenship Amendment Bill in January this year. (Photo: Himanshu Saikia/Facebook)

But, you are an Indian, and you need to know that we here in a small cranny in the Northeastern part of the country, and are protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Bill for the prime reason that it stands against secularism, and absolutely not because we hate our Bengali brothers and sisters. Don’t believe that crap one bit.

You welcome even strangers into your humble abode when they are stranded in a storm, but, guests aren’t guests if they try to snatch and drive you out of your own dwelling.

Our united protests stand firm against the segregation of people on the anti-Constitutional basis of religion, and it’s hard to fathom the clashes that it would beget if the CAB is passed. Our protests stand for our right to live in peace, speaking our respective tongues and celebrating each other’s festivals in perfect harmony, like we always have. We want to live free as one strong Indian family, regardless of whether we are Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhist, Jain, or Animist.

Photo: Himanshu Saikia via Facebook.

No offense, but we are just a small cluster of states trying to cope up with problems of our own, with soil erosion, crushing poverty, and unemployment forming just the tip of a massive iceberg. We can’t afford to allow the permanent citizenship of foreigners when thousands of our own people are struggling to get by, to have basic human needs fulfilled.

The situation here, in Assam, is really intense right now. You can hear the screams of rebels at every hour of the day. My home smells vaguely of burned tires and asphalt from the smoke coming from the National Highway nearby. I’m just waiting for my college to open soon so that I too can go out there to rebel alongside my fellow country people. I feel pretty useless sitting at home, able to do nothing.

I had an exam in Guwahati on December 8, and had to book tickets to return home, the same night after the exam. Five of my friends are still stuck in Guwahati, for who knows how long. The protests will go on, night and day, until the Centre decides to care enough for what we have to say, until they care enough to stand, for an instant, in our shoes and feel our insecurity.

It’s terrifying insecurity, somewhat like orphans watching their home being wrecked, because the ones in redevelopment want to build something more lucrative in its place. Though, this time around, it’s not the lure of a cash-cow but that of a vote-cow.

My hometown is about seven hours away by bus. But, the bus scrambled fast enough to cover the distance in four hours because the afternoon news said that there would be a state-wide bandh the next day, and a bandh across the entire Northeast on the day-after. My brother said that things will heat up once the CAB gets tabled in the Lok Sabha, and it did.

Right at this very moment, every conscious Indian has their blood boiling in disappointment, hurt, and rage, and yet, the Central government has the audacity to do as it so pleases. They are honestly proving to be dictators, for this is not what democracy looks like.

It is plain unfair and downright autocratic of the government to want to grant citizenship on a religious basis. I cast my first vote, early this year, to the party in power, and today, I’m standing in an attempt to rebel against them, and you should too. For the sake of secularism, do sign this petition.

P.S.: They surely went on to do what they said. Sharp at 7 pm, my internet (Airtel) stopped working. However, for some reason, Jio users are still getting access and I’m thanking the heavens for letting me post this before the next day, December 12.

Created by Gauri Bora

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Read more about her campaign.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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