A day after the citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) was passed in Rajya Sabha, thousand of people took to streets defying the curfew in Guwahati, Assam.
Guwahati turned into a war zone
Assam BJP MLA Binod Hazarika’s house was set ablaze by protesters in Assam’ Chabua on Thursday, news agency PTI reported. The protesters also burned down a circle office.
Police opened fire in several areas of the city as protestors threw stones at them. Protestors are burning tyres, vandalising shops and buildings. The agitators claimed that at least four persons were injured in the shooting.
5,000 personnel of Central Armed Police Forces from J&K have been rushed to North-East states, particularly Assam.
Guwahati police chief, senior officers transferred
Meanwhile, the government held the Guwahati police commissioner and senior officers responsible for the law and order situation and ordered them to be replaced.
Guwahati, the epicenter of anti-CAB protests, was placed under indefinite curfew on Wednesday.
The Army was deployed, and the suspension of mobile internet services in 10 districts — Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Kamrup (Metro) and Kamrup — was extended for 48 hours on Thursday, beginning 12 pm.
Despite the restrictions, Student and peasant organizations gave the call that saw hundreds of people coming to the streets.
Leaders of the All Assam Student Union (AASU) and the North East Students’ Organization (NESO) said they will observe December 12 as ‘Black Day’ every year in protest against the passage of the bill in Parliament.
What do the protestors want?
Protesters in Guwahati expressed fear that the CAB would “open the floodgates for illegal Bangladeshis and violate the Assam Accord” of 1985. Many in North East think that it will make the Assamese a minority in the state of Assam threatening its language and culture.
At many locations, protesters were seen holding placards that read “No CAB”, and shouting slogans against the Bill and the BJP-led state government.
Meanwhile, the Central government has issued an advisory to private TV channels against showing content that “can encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order” or “promotes anti-national attitudes” or anything that can affect the “integrity of the nation”.
The CAB, which is a contentious issue in North-East India with influential socio-political groups and political parties holding it as a threat to the interests of the indigenous communities of the region was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday after a division which saw 125 vote in favour and 99 against.