Anti-Citizenship Amendment Bill protests turned violent through Guwahati’s major localities — Silpukhuri, Chandmari, Lachit Nagar, GS Road, Hatigaon—on Thursday.
Many commuters were stranded at the Guwahati airport unable to get out. “There are at least a thousand people here,” confirmed a police official at the airport, adding that many cars left but had to turn back because they were waylaid by the protestors.
From the airport to the city centre, many vehicles met with several stone-pelting incidents.
During the day from 11 am to 2 pm, at Latasil grounds, people showed up in thousands to attend a protest organised by All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and singer Zubeen Garg. “In the morning, many of us were stopped and both the army and the police were trying to push us back. However, they coordinated later and we were allowed to enter the Latasil premises,” Anurupa Dekaraja, one of the protestors.
Meanwhile, internet services in the state remain suspended and an indefinite curfew is on. “They are trying to use the same tactics like they did in Kashmir — clamping down on the internet but we will not let that happen. We will not let Delhi dictate us. We have never been dictated by Delhi. We will not accept what Delhi,” said Shilabhadra, a businessman based in Guwahati.
The Latasil carried on peacefully for most part, featuring sloganeering and speeches by Garg, Sammujal Bhattacharya, advisor, AASU, among others.
However, away from Latasil, other parts of the city such as Hatigaon, Silpukhuri, Lachit Nagar, Chandmari, Christian Basti, faced sporadic protests. The city’s arterial roads such as GS Road, GNB Road, saw tyres burning, dividers set on fires by groups. The situation got worse towards the evening, starting 4 pm, as cops tried to disperse crowds by blank firing and deploying tear gas.
GNB road — from Guwahati Club to Chandmari saw groups of protestors throwing stones, heckling at the police. When the police blank fired, the groups would disperse into the lanes.
This happened through the evening in the area. “We are not going to let the curfew stop us. We are not going accept any imposition by the state,” shouted one of the protestors at Silpukhuri area.