Citizenship Amendment Bill protests highlights: Protesters vandalise railway stations, block roads in Bengal
Citizenship Amendment Bill CAB 2019 Protests in Assam, Tripura, Guwahati, Northeast Today highlights: West Bengal witnessed were in throes of violence, with protesters setting ablaze Beldanga railway station in Murshidabad district and thrashing RPF personnel.
By: Express Web Desk | Agartala, Guwahati, New Delhi |
Updated: December 15, 2019 7:45:45 am
Protesters set Beldanga station complex in Bengal’s Murshidabad to fire. (Express photo)
Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019 Protests Today highlights: Even as protests over the amended Citizenship Act showed signs of abating in Assam and elsewhere in the northeast, the agitation reached the shores of West Bengal on Friday, with protesters vandalising public property and clashing with the police.
While curfew was relaxed in Assam’s Dibrugarh and Meghalaya capital Shillong, parts of West Bengal were in throes of violence, with protesters setting ablaze Beldanga railway station in Murshidabad district and thrashing RPF personnel, news agency PTI reported. Similar incidents of violence were reported from Uluberia and Diamond Harbour as agitators blocked railway tracks and vandalised stations, PTI reported.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah cancelled his visit to two Northeastern states — Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh — which was scheduled on Sunday and Monday, news agency PTI reported quoting officials.
Citizenship Amendment Bill protests today highlights: An indefinite curfew is in place in Assam; protests spill over to Meghalaya and more. Get latest news and updates here.
Police resort to baton charge to disperse protesters who became violent during their march against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, in Guwahati. (PTI Photo)
Late on Thursday, President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the Bill even as violent protests continued to rock the state. Two people were killed and over 20 injured in alleged police firing. The law will grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Jains and Parsis who entered the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan until December 31, 2014. It leaves out Muslims. The protests also spilt over to neighbouring Meghalaya after vehicles were vandalised and set ablaze in Police Bazaar and Iew Duh areas, resulting in the imposition of curfew in all neighbourhoods that include areas under Sadar PS and Lumdiengjri PS. Mobile internet and messaging services were suspended for 48 hours from 5 pm on Thursday.
On Thursday, Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal issued separate appeals for peace. Sonowal requested protesters to not take the path of violence and asked leaders of the agitation to engage in dialogue with him. But in Dibrugarh’s Chabua, the home town of Sonowal, officials said protesters vandalised the Circle office and the railway station. With protesters also targeting another station in Panitola, the Centre suspended rail services in Assam and Tripura, halted long-distance trains to the region in Guwahati, and deployed 12 companies of the Railway Protection Special Force.
Caught unaware Wednesday as the protests escalated sharply, the state government Thursday shunted out top police officers, including the Additional Director General (Law and Order) and Guwahati Police Commissioner.
Sources said police in Jorhat have arrested Akhil Gogoi, who heads the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), which is one of the organisations involved in the protests.
However, speaking to The Indian Express, a top police officer in the state said the situation on the ground continued to be “grim”. Another senior officer said the “situation is under control but clashes are happening all over the state”.
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