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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

CAB protests Highlights: Violent protests rock West Bengal, CM Mamata appeals for peace

Citizenship Amendment Bill CAB 2019 Protests in Assam, Tripura, Guwahati, Northeast Today Highlights: While indefinite curfew was relaxed for several hours in Dibrugarh and Guwahati, the suspension of internet services in 10 districts was extended for 48 hours till December 16.

By: Express Web Desk | Agartala, Guwahati, Imphal, New Delhi | Updated: December 14, 2019 10:22:41 pm
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Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019 Protests Today Highlights: Assam continued to face restrictions for the fourth straight day in view of the law and situation following protests against the amended Citizenship Act. While indefinite curfew was relaxed for several hours in Dibrugarh and Guwahati, the suspension of internet services across the state was extended for 48 hours till December 16, news agency PTI reported.

In West Bengal, violent agitations continued for the second consecutive day as protesters torched several buses, a railway station, a toll plaza in Murshidabad, PTI reported quoting officials. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has appealed to the public to maintain calm and protest democratically.

READ |  Citizenship amendment law explained

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah Saturday accused Congress of stoking violence against the amended Bill. Addressing a rally in Jharkhand’s Giridih, Shah said, “We have brought the amended Citizenship Act and the Congress got a stomach ache and is fanning violence against it.” The BJP president also assured the people of the Northeast that their culture, language, social identity and political rights will be not be affected.

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Protests over Citizenship Amendment Bill have erupted in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Delhi, Aligarh among other places. Follow Highlights.


    21:43 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Tripura royal scion moves SC challenging amended Citizenship Act

    Tripura royal scion and chairperson of the Joint Movement Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (JMACAB) has filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the new citizenship law.

    Speaking to, Pradyot Kishore Debbarma Saturday said, “Tripura has suffered enough. We don’t want this state to go through this burden. I am a Hindu. We love our Hindus. Tripura is an example of giving shelter to the persecuted Hindu minority. But the time has come for the rest of the country to take the load and not Tripura.” Click here to read more.

    21:09 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Misinformation being spread to create confusion: Assam CM

    Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal also alleged that misinformation like more than one crore people will enter Assam under the Act are being spread to create confusion among the people.

    "I appeal to all of you not to get convinced in this fake information. Those involved in inciting violence through the spread of misinformation do not want peace and development of the society. They are harmful elements. All peaceful people should unite against such anti-social elements," he said.

    The state government has no problem with peaceful protests, Sonowal said adding that anti-social elements destroying public properties and threatening people will be punished. 

    21:06 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Negligible number of people to benefit from amended Citizenship Act: Sonowal

    Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal Saturday said that "very negligible" number of people will be benefited by the amended Citizenship Act. He also said that the exact number of those people will be disclosed at an appropriate time and urged people to maintain peace.

    "The number of people who will apply (for citizenship under the amended Act) will be very negligible. We are running the government and we have the data. At an appropriate time, you will be able to know all these clearly," Sonowal was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

    21:00 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Will seek President's Rule if violence continues in WB : BJP

    Accusing Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrators for being behind the ongoing mayhem and arson in several parts of West Bengal, BJP national secretary Rahul Sinha Saturday said the party will seek the imposition of President's Rule in the state if the situation continues.

    Sinha blamed Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her "appeasement policies", which, he claimed, has led to the current situation in West Bengal. (PTI)

    19:58 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Joint CSIR-UGC NET exam for candidates from Assam, Meghalaya postponed

    Joint CSIR-UGC NET exam for candidates from Assam and Meghalaya has been postponed in the wake of unrest in the region.

    19:36 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    South Central Railways cancels trains in view of tension brewing in Bengal

    South Central  Railways cancelled trains in view of tension brewing in Bengal.

    19:12 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Rush in Guwahati petrol pumps between 6 am to 4 pm

    Curfew was lifted from 6 am to 4 pm in Guwahati. The day saw a considerable rush at petrol pumps. The major petrol pumps at GS Road, Chandmari, Zoo Road, Beltola were open throughout the day.
    “We came twice in the morning to fill petrol — but it was such a long queue, so we had to come back twice. Finally got it at 4pm,” said R Alom, a resident from Hatigaon.

    18:55 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Army warns people in NE about 'fake news' against the force

    Amid protests in the Northeast over the amended Citizenship Act, the Army on Saturday advised people to not fall prey to "fake news" directed against the force.
    The Army posted a collage of screenshots of social media accounts, accusing them of spreading misinformation against the force by accusing it of carrying out atrocities. (PTI)

    18:17 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Massive protest at Delhi's Jantar Mantar over Citizenship Act

    Scores of people gathered at Jantar Mantar here on Saturday to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. People from all walks of life came out in solidarity with those opposing the new law. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has closed entry and exit gates at Janpath metro station in view of the protest. (PTI)

    17:47 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    BJP expects gains from citizenship law

    Major protests in Assam and some other parts of the northeast against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act have taken many in the BJP by surprise but they believe that the gains for the party will be more than any loss from implementing the contentious law. (PTI)

    17:39 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Assam govt employees' association announces cease work on Dec 18

    Assam govt employees' association announces cease work on Dec 18 to protest against amended Citizenship Act.

    17:30 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    CAB protests: Roads blocked, traffic movement affected in Bengal

    Angry protesters torched around 15 buses, both public and private, and blocked traffic on the arterial Kona Expressway in Howrah that connect both NH6 (Mumbai Road) and NH2 (Delhi Road) to Kolkata, the police said.

    The National Highway 34, one of the main roads that connect north and south Bengal, was blocked in Murshidabad. Buses were also set on fire there, the police said.

    In Howrah district's Domjur area, the National Highway 6 was blocked as protesters set tyres ablaze and ransacked several vehicles, the police said. (PTI)

    17:23 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Guwahati T20 International: BCCI, Assam CA to 'monitor' situation

    The BCCI and Assam Cricket Association (ACA) will be "closely monitoring" the security situation in Guwahati in the wake of protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, keeping in mind the January 5 T20 International between India and Sri Lanka.

    Sri Lanka are coming to India for a short three-match T20 International series, which starts at the Barsapara Stadium in Guwahati, but the prevailing security situation has cast a shadow of doubt.

    "Right now, we cannot comment on whether the T20 International in Guwahati will happen or not. All the authorities (state Police, Home Ministry) will be monitoring the situation. We have to wait for some time. There is still three weeks to go so we have to be hopeful," Assam CA vice-president Parikshit Dutta told PTI. (PTI)

    17:14 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Violent protests will only help BJP: Bengal Minister Firhad Hakim

    The ongoing violent protests against the amended Citizenship Act in several parts of West Bengal will only help the BJP, West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim said on Saturday.

    Hakim, the urban development minister said that such violent protests will not help the state but will only strengthen the hands of the BJP. 'It is our duty as citizens of the country to protect the Indian Constitution and not to indulge in lawlessness,' he added. (PTI)

    17:07 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Protests against citizenship law continue in Bengal, road, rail blockade at several places

    Road and rail blockades continued in different parts of West Bengal on Saturday by people protesting against the amended Citizenship Act, officials said. Incidents of violence were reported from Murshidabad and North 24 Paraganas districts, and rural Howrah, police said. (PTI)

    16:57 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    It's time to rise to save democracy, Constitution: Sonia Gandhi

    “Suffering injustice is the biggest crime, it’s time to rise to save democracy and Constitution,” she added. Accusing the BJP of violating the Constitution every day, Sonia said, “An atmosphere of “andher nagri chaupat raja” in the country, entire nation asking where is “sabka sath sabka vikas.”

    16:56 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    CAB will destroy country as it has (destroyed) northeast: Sonia Gandhi at Bharat Bachao Rally

    Addressing the Congress’ mega “Bharat Bachao Rally” (Save India Rally) at Ramlila grounds here, Congress president Sonia Gandhi assured justice to all who will be affected by the Citizenship Act implemented by the BJP government. “CAB, which the BJP government has brought in, will destroy the country as it has in the northeast. But I guarantee whoever will get injustice, Congress will stand with them,” she said.

    16:14 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Tough security measures continue at AMU

    Tough security measures continued at Aligarh Muslim University on Saturday as a precautionary measure amid student protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Heavy police patrolling is underway at the university circle and other entry points of the AMU campus as a precautionary measure, police said. (PTI)

    16:12 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Railways running special trains from Guwahati to help stranded passengers in Assam

    Railways is running special trains from Guwahati to help stranded passengers in Assam, where protests are underway against the Citizenship Amendment Act, officials said on Saturday.

    One such train was operated on Friday to Dimapur. Another was run to Furkating, the main railway junction in Assam's Golaghat district on Saturday and another to Dibrugarh. A special passenger train from Guwahati to Dimapur will run at 2:30 pm from Guwahati tonight, they said. (PTI)

    16:02 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Mamata warns of strict action amid vandalism across Bengal over citizenship law

    "Do not take up law in your hand. Do not put up road blockades and rail blockades and create trouble for the common people on the roads," Mamata Banerjee said in a statement released from the West Bengal chief minister's office.
    "Do not cause damage to government properties. Strict action would be taken against those who are found guilty in creating disturbances," the statement quoted her as saying. (PTI)

    15:58 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Citizenship row: Tough security measures continue at AMU

    Tough security measures continued at Aligarh Muslim University on Saturday as a precautionary measure amid student protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Heavy police patrolling is underway at the university circle and other entry points of the AMU campus as a precautionary measure, police said. (PTI)

    15:57 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Tea growers feel pinch of Assam protests, fear less production, sales

    Tea growers in Assam have started feeling the pinch of the ongoing protests with partial disruption in production at many gardens and sale of the crop at the Guwahati auction centre being hampered, industry insiders said on Saturday.

    "Though winter months are not the peak season, plucking and manufacturing operations in many gardens across the state have been affected amid widespread protest," North Eastern Tea Association adviser Bidyananda Barkakoty told PTI. (PTI)

    15:49 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Jamia announces vacation till Jan 5, cancels exam

    The Jamia Millia Islamia on Saturday declared vacation till January 5 and cancelled all exams in view of the tense situation in the university due to students' protest against the amended citizenship act.

    "All exams postponed. New dates to be announced in due course of time. Vacation declared from December 16 to January 5. University will reopen on January 6, 2020," a senior university official said. (PTI)

    15:47 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    US, UK, other countries warn citizens against travelling NE India

    Several countries, including the US, UK, Israel Canada and Singapore, have asked their citizens to exercise caution while travelling to the Northeast India which has witnessed violent protests against the amended citizenship act.

    The new amended citizenship law, which provides for granting citizenship to non-Muslim persecuted minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, has put the Northeast on the boil, where people fear that it may exacerbate the problem of illegal immigration. (PTI)

    15:39 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Culture, social identity, language and political rights of northeast will remain untouched: Amit Shah

    "I assure (the people of) Assam and (other) northeastern states that their culture, social identity, language and political rights will be untouched and the Narendra Modi government will protect them," he said.

    Shah said Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has met him over the issue. "I assured him (Sangma) of constructively discussing the issues to find a solution," Shah added. (PTI)

    15:12 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Congress stoking violence against amended Citizenship Act: Shah

    Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday hit out at the Congress, accusing it of stoking violence against the amended Citizenship Act. Shah, addressing an election rally here, said that the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill has caused a "stomach ache" to the opposition party.

    "We have brought the amended Citizenship Act and the Congress got a stomach ache and is fanning violence against it," he said. The BJP president also assured the people of the Northeast that their culture, language, social identity and political rights will be not be affected. (PTI)

    14:28 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    How much of Assam is exempt?

    In Assam, three Autonomous Districts are exempted but the new law remains applicable to the major area. This also raises the question: can there be two citizenship laws applicable to the same state?

    Under Clause 5.8 of the Assam Accord, “Foreigners who came to Assam on or after March 25, 1971 shall continue to be detected, deleted and practical steps shall be taken to expel such foreigners.”

    14:27 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Kerala, West Bengal and Punjab have refused to implement it. Can they?

    The non-BJP ruling parties in these states are making a political point. Citizenship, aliens and naturalisation are subjects listed in List 1 of the Seventh Schedule and fall exclusively under the domain of Parliament.

    Most states of the Northeast are, however, wholly or partially exempted under special provisions for tribal areas, such as Inner Line Permit (Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and now extended to Manipur) and the Sixth Schedule with special provisions in practically all of Meghalaya, and a large chunk of Tripura.

    14:24 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Let them declare all of us as non-citizens: Yashwant Sinha

    Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha said the citizens must refuse to divulge any personal information to the authorities as a protest against Citizenship Amendment Act. "The most suitable reply of the people of India to CAA and NRC should be not to cooperate with the govt and refuse to share any personal or family information with the authorities. Let them declare all of us as non-citizens," he tweeted

    14:20 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    CAB Protests: Given that the law excludes only non-Indian Muslims, why is it being said that it is against Indian Muslims?

    On the face of it, the amendment is not to exclude any Indian citizen. However, the NRC in Assam and the latest citizenship law cannot be decoupled. The final NRC left out over 19 lakh people. The new law gives a fresh chance to the Bengali Hindus left out to acquire citizenship, whereas the same benefit will not be available to a Muslim left out, who will have to fight a legal battle.

    Shah and BJP leaders have maintained that the NRC process in Assam will be replicated in the rest of the country, fuelling fears among Indian Muslims. Plugged with NRC, the new amendment becomes an enabling law to potentially disenfranchise an individual of a religion not mentioned in the amendment.

    Politically, the law is expected to impact West Bengal and Northeastern states. Assam and West Bengal head for polls in 2021.

    14:03 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Are the communities mentioned in CAB indeed persecuted in these three countries?

    In Rajya Sabha, the Home Minister relied on news reports as evidence of religious persecution against Hindus in Pakistan, ranging from forced conversion to demolition of temples. Notable examples were Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian convicted of blasphemy who spent eight years on death row before being acquitted by the Pakistan Supreme Court.

    In Bangladesh, cases of killings of atheists by Islamic militants are well-documented. While Shah claimed that persecution has been rampant since the death Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, Bangladesh’s present Foreign Affairs Minister A K Abdul Momen has denied any religious persecution.

    Although Shah referred to non-Muslim religions as persecuted minorities, the law avoids using the word persecution in its text.

    13:41 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    How many people could now be given Indian citizenship under the new law?

    Home Minister Amit Shah referred to the amendment as bringing relief to “lakhs and crores of non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan”. As of December 31, 2014, the government had identified 2,89,394 “stateless persons in India”, according to data presented in Parliament by the Home Ministry in 2016. The majority were from Bangladesh (1,03,817) and Sri Lanka (1,02,467), followed by Tibet (58,155), Myanmar (12,434), Pakistan (8,799) and Afghanistan (3,469). The figures are for stateless persons of all religions.

    For those who came after December 31, 2014, the regular route of seeking refuge in India will apply. If they are regarded as illegal immigrants, they cannot apply for citizenship through naturalisation, irrespective fo religion.

    13:40 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    CAB protests: Internet to remain suspended in Assam till December 16

    Suspension of internet services across Assam extended to December 16, news agency PTI reported, quoting officials. On Wednesday evening, the Guwahati administration declared an indefinite curfew and suspended mobile internet. On Thursday, as protests continued in Assam, broadband services were also snapped.

    Suspension of internet services have been extended for another 48 hours keeping in view the prevailing law and order situation in the state, additional chief secretary (home and political department) Sanjay Krishna told PTI.

    13:37 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Citizenship Amendment Bill: Why is Assam in particular seeing such strong protests?

    In Assam, what is primarily driving the protests is not who are excluded from the ambit of the new law, but how many are included. The protesters are worried about the prospect of the arrival of more migrants, irrespective of religion, in a state whose demography and politics have been defined by migration. The Assam Movement (1979-85) was built around migration from Bangladesh, which many Assamese fear will lead to their culture and language being ovetaken, besides putting pressure on land resources and job opportunities.

    The protesters’ argument is that the new law violates the Assam Accord of 1985, which sets March 24, 1971 as the cutoff for Indian citizenship. This is also the cut-off for the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, whose final version was published this year. Under the new law, the cutoff is December 31, 2014, for Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Buddhists and Jains from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. It has become controversial largely because it excludes Muslims.

    13:14 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    Rally against CAB in Ludhiana

    Several people in Punjab's Ludhiana took out a rally against Citizenship Amendment Bill on Saturday. (Express photos by Gurmeet Singh)

    12:57 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    'Gamosa' to 'Joi Aai Asom', the signs of pride that shaped Assam's CAB protests

    The Assamese 'gamosa' and the salutation 'Joi Aai Asom' along with the cry 'Ho!Ho!' has become the symbol of the protests raging the state against the amended Citizenship Act. The 'gamosa', a white and red patterned cotton handwoven fabric, is traditionally offered to elders and guests as mark of respect and honour by Assamese people. It is being used by the protestors to assert their identity, which they claim has been threatened by the Act. (PTI)

    12:03 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    North-East CAB protests: Internet remains suspended in Assam

    Internet remains suspended in 10 districts of Assam. Violent protests and street arson seemed to be simmering down in Assam on Friday with the administration claiming that no major incidents of violence were reported in Guwahati, and agitation leaders announcing that the protests will be held only during the day.

    Meanwhile, three policemen and at least 63 protesters were injured in Meghalaya’s capital Shillong on Friday after thousands of protesters attempted to storm into the Governor’s House as police resorted to lathicharge and tear gas shelling to disburse the crowd, a senior police officer said.

    11:54 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    CAB protests at Mumbai's Azad Maidan

    The Assamese artist community of Mumbai along with other Assamese citizens are protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Bill at Azad Maidan today. The protests will be addressed by Joi Barua, Jahnu Baruah, Dhrubajyoti Phukan, Ambar Das, Shashwati Phukan, Saumar Sharma, Roopa Barua, among others. (Express photo/Nirmal Harindran)

    11:35 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    'Don't think he even knew full form of CAB, went to protest to see Zubeen Garg': Kin of boy killed in Assam

    Sam Stafford was among the two killed in police firing during protests against Citizenship Amendment Bill in Assam. “I don’t think he even knew the full meaning of the citizenship law, he just went to protest because everyone was doing so. He also went to see Zubeen Garg,” says his cousin. "We voted for them. We thought they would do something. But what they did was they killed our brother, who had no evil intentions," he added.

    His friends say they didn’t discuss the citizenship law much, until the protests began. “But, as Assamese boys, we were worried about the future of Assam. We never wanted illegal Bangladeshis to take over,” says Hoque. While The Indian Express was unable to access Sam’s post mortem report, eyewitnesses said he was shot point blank in the face. Read more

    11:21 (IST)14 Dec 2019
    CAB protests continue in Bengal: Road and rail blockade at several places

    Road and rail blockades continued in different parts of West Bengal on Saturday by people protesting against the amended Citizenship Act. Incidents of violence were reported from Murshidabad and North 24 Paraganas districts, and rural Howrah, police said. The National Highway 34, one of the arterial roads that connect north and south Bengal, was blocked in Murshidabad. Several other roads in the district were also blocked, they said.

    In Howarh district's Domjur area, the National Highway 6 was blocked as protester set tyres ablaze and ransacked several vehicles, the police said. Train movements were also blocked in the Sealdah-Hasnabad section of the Eastern Railway.

    A torchlight procession to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Guwahati (File)

    Naga Students' Federation has called for a 6-hour shutdown Saturday in Nagaland to protest against the newly-enacted citizenship law. Meanwhile, curfew has been relaxed today in Assam's Guwahati and Meghalaya's Shillong after improved conditions, PTI reported.

    Violent protests broke out in the North-East states and spread to West Bengal, Delhi and parts of south India, Friday, with police resorting to lathicharge and tear gas shells to contain protesters. While two people were killed in Assam, at least 25 students were injured in protests outside Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia University. The university has postponed the exams scheduled for today.

    In its first remarks on the issue, the Trump administration urged India to “protect the rights of its religious minorities” in keeping with its “Constitution and democratic values”. The US and the UK have also issued travel advisories asking their citizens to "exercise caution" while visiting the North-East in the wake of the protests. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, meanwhile, said they are “concerned” that the law is “fundamentally discriminatory in nature” and appear to “undermine the commitment to equality”

    The Citizenship 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 Bill was passed in Lok Sabha on Tuesday and in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Late on Thursday, President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the Bill even as violent protests erupted in Assam. Curfew has been imposed at several places in Assam, while the Army has carried out flag marches in many districts to control protests and violence.

    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. Northeastern states fear the law will lead to legitimizing of immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh and change the demographics of the region.

    Amid the shutdown in North-East, Home Minister Amit Shah has cancelled his visit to Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh. Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was scheduled to hold an annual bilateral summit meeting with PM Narendra Modi in Guwahati, has deferred his visit. Bangladesh also protested after the convoy of its envoy was attacked, and two signposts of the Bangladesh Assistant High Commission were vandalised. Bangladesh's Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan have also cancelled their visit to India

    About a dozen petitioners, including Congress leader Jairam Ramesh and the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), moved the Supreme Court questioning the constitutional validity of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019

    Amid the heavy protests, a source in the government had admitted that there could have been an error of judgment in weighing the possibilities of violent protests on the streets against the Bill. “There could have been an error of judgment (about the responses). We must have made a mistake in assessing the situation. Or there could be a communication gap,” said a source. Another BPJ source said, “This scale of violent response was not anticipated.”

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to Assam, and assured people that their identity and culture would be protected. He also accused the Congress and its allies of spreading confusion over the Bill’s provisions and fanning the flames in the North-East. Taking to Twitter, Modi posted: “I want to assure my brothers and sisters of Assam that they have nothing to worry after the passing of #CAB. I want to assure them — no one can take away your rights, unique identity and beautiful culture. It will continue to flourish and grow.”


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