Upper Assam tense, curfew lifted
GUWAHATI: After witnessing violent protests for the last three days following the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act, Guwahati, the capital of Assam, returned to normalcy though districts of Upper Assam, including Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Jorhat, continued to remain tense, with reports of violent protests in different parts of these districts on Saturday.
Security sources said mobs burnt vehicles and vandalised public properties in several areas of Upper Assam.
Authorities lifted curfew in Guwahati on Saturday morning. A large number of people crowded into the market areas to buy essential commodities soon after the curfew was lifted at 8 am. Curfew was, however, re-imposed at 4 pm as a precautionary measure.
Suspension of internet services is, however, continues. According to sources, these services will remain suspended till Monday as security agencies feel Internet may be misused to trigger rumours via social media.
The state administration has deployed contingents of the Indian Army all along the national highways, where hundreds of trucks remain stranded. The north-east is witnessing angry demonstrations against the Citizenship (Amend-
ment) Act, which fasttracks the naturalisation of non-Muslim minority refugees who have faced religious persecution in Bangladesh, which borders a number of north-eastern states.
Indigenous people within the north-east are agitated that the law will endanger their languages, identity and livelihoods.
Security forces are hoping that the decision of the All Assam Students' Union to suspend its agitation during nights will help security forces in segregating protestors from hooligans. Sources said no reports of violence have been received from any part of the capital city after security forces arrested nearly 20 hooligans, who had come from neighbouring districts to join protests in the capital, which witnessed violent incidents on Thursday.
Leader of opposition in Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia, MP Abdul Khaleque, and MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi moved the Supreme Court on Friday against the legislation. Their advocates will raise the matter in the top court on Monday for urgent listing. The Northeast Frontier Railways deployed special passenger trains on some routes on Saturday to help stranded passengers reach their destinations. At least nine trains to and from Dibrugarh were cancelled or terminated as on Thursday due to the agitation against the legislation. Though Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh have been kept out of the amended Citizenship Act, the Naga Students Federation observed a complete shutdown on Friday for six hours in Nagaland, while members of the Arunachal Pradesh Students' Union boycotted their examinations on Friday to join protests held in Itanagar. Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, who met home minister Amit Shah, has demanded an Inner Line Permit for Meghalaya also. Referring the ongoing agitation in the state, Sangma is said to have insisted that the Centre look into their grievances too. Sources said the CM will convene a special session of the state assembly soon to pass a resolution asking the central government to implement ILP in Meghalaya, like it has done in Manipur.
Eight columns of Army and Assam Rifles have been deployed to help maintain law and order.