Several parts of the North-East — especially in Tripura and Assam — witnessed protests marked by confrontations with security personnel as the region observed a complete shutdown upon the call of the North East Students’ Organisation on Tuesday against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday.
The Tripura government suspended SMS and mobile Internet services for 48 hours beginning 2pm on Tuesday after clashes between security personnel and protesters. A senior police officer said that more than 1,700 protesters were detained. Police did not give an exact figure for those injured in the protests in which security personnel resorted to lobbing tear gas shells and blank fire to control angry crowds.
Speaking to reporters after a public event in Agartala, Chief Minister Biplab Deb said, “There is no response to strike today. Tripura is going ahead on the path of development… No part of N-E India or rest of the country will be affected by this Bill… So what is the point of this bandh?”
In Assam, there were protests against the BJP, CAB and the state’s political leadership across the state with sporadic agitations in Jorhat, Pathsala, Dibrugarh, Morigaon and Lakhimpur. Tyres were burnt, roads and traffic blocked and black flags waved in some places as protesters raised slogans and clashed with security personnel in several areas. Demonstrators also agitated outside the homes of a few BJP legislators and there were reports of vandalism with vehicles being damaged at some locations.
In Guwahati, police resorted to lathicharge and tear gas to control crowds in Hatigaon, Dispur and Ganeshguri areas even as reports emerged about cavalcades of officials and political leaders being confronted by the crowd. However, a senior police officer denied that VIP movement was blocked in any part of the city.
In Meghalaya, there were reports about a police vehicle being torched by protesters and a few other vehicles vandalised.
Manipur saw a complete shutdown but there were no protests.
The AASU Tuesday said that it will move the Supreme Court against the Bill. “The Bill will take away our rights and we have to agitate against it,” AASU chief advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya said. — With inputs from Jimmy Levion in Imphal
Film withdrawn in protest
Guwahati: National Award-winning filmmaker Jahnu Barua has registered his opposition to the CAB by deciding not to participate in the Assam State Film Awards and Film Festival, which is scheduled on December 26-27 here. Barua is withdrawing his film ‘Bhoga Khirikee’ (Broken Window) from being screened at the festival. The film was produced by Priyanka Chopra. —ENS