Curfew was imposed in Guwahati for an indefinite period and mobile internet services was suspended in 10 districts in Assam as protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) continued to rock the state on a day the legislation was introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
Two columns of the Army were deployed in Tripura while one was kept on standby at Assam’s Bongaigaon as the Centre airlifted 5,000 paramilitary personnel to Northeastern states, including about 2,000 soldiers from Kashmir, to contain any possible adverse fallout of the protests. A column consists of nearly 70 Army personnel.
The curfew, which was imposed at 6.15 pm, has been extended till indefinite period, Assam Police Additional Director General (Law and Order) Mukesh Agrawal told PTI. “We will periodically review the situation and take the decision to lift it accordingly,” he said.
The development comes a day after the region observed a complete shutdown upon the call of the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), PTI reported. Follow LIVE Updates
Even though there was no bandh call for Wednesday, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Guwahati, Jorhat, Golaghat, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Sivasagar, Bongaigaon, Nagaon and Sonitpur, setting on fire tyres and wooden logs. The Army later carried out a flag march in Dibrugarh.
In order to curb the spread of rumours and misinformation, mobile internet services was suspended in Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Kamrup (Metro) and Kamrup districts of Assam for 24 hours.
— Abhishek Saha (@saha_abhi1990) December 11, 2019
Fierce demonstrations were held outside the state secretariat in Dispur, the seat of the BJP government, where a large number of agitated students blocked the road near the complex and pulled down the barricade erected on GS Road. Police resorted to lathicharge and burst tear gas shells to disperse the crowd.
Protesters also damaged a stage erected on the road for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed summit meeting with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Sunday, PTI reported. “This is a barbaric government led by Sarbananda Sonowal. We will not succumb to any pressure till the CAB is repealed,” a student leader told PTI.
In view of the protests, the Northeast Frontier Railway has cancelled many trains. “At least 14 trains have either been cancelled, short terminated or diverted anticipating disruptions in train movement,” NF Railway Chief Public Relations Officer Subhanan Chanda said in a statement. All exams scheduled till December 16 in Gauhati University and Dibrugarh University have been postponed.
In Tripura, clashes between protestors and police were reported from Kamalpur, Manu and Ambassa in Dhalai district, Teliamura of Khowai district and parts of Sipahijala district, Additional DGP Rajiv Singh said.
“Police have taken strict steps. Lathicharge, tear gas shells were used in some locations. The situation is under control,” Singh told indianexpress.com. Two columns of the Army have been dispatched to the Kanchanpur and Manu areas of Tripura.
West Tripura, the hotbed of the protests against the Citizenship Bill, which seeks to give citizenship to illegal migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, saw the government deploying personnel of Tripura Police, Tripura State Rifles and Assam Rifles to avert any untoward situation.
Meanwhile, the Joint Movement Against CAB, a platform of three indigenous political parties and tribal social organisations, withdrew their strike at 4 pm. “We have withdrawn the strike for today. We shall discuss among ourselves and decide next course of action for tomorrow,” JMACAB leader Jagadish Debbarma told indianexpress.com.
The Tripura Congress also took out a protest march near the state party headquarters, resulting in a clash with police. The party claimed about 20-25 workers were injured in the police lathicharge, including state Congress chairperson Pijush Kanti Biswas. The Tripura Youth Congress has called for a 24-hour statewide bandh on Thusday in protest against the alleged attack on their rally.