Northeast burns, police open fire, trains and flights cancelled as anti-Citizenship Bill stir rages in Assam

Violent protests continue unabated in Assam and Tripura even a day after Rajya Sabha passed the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill

Northeast burns, police open fire, trains and flights cancelled as anti-Citizenship Bill stir rages in Assam
Security personnel put off fire on the roads of Guwahati (Photo-Daily Star)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Northeast continues to witness violent protests against the Citizenship Bill
  • Police opened fire on protesters in Guwahati on Thursday
  • Train and flight services have been affected in Assam and Tripura

India's Northeast is up in arms. Violent protests continue unabated in Assam and Tripura even a day after Rajya Sabha passed the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, pushing it one step closer towards becoming a law of the land. The government has rushed Army and paramilitary troops to Assam and Tripura while protests gather momentum and agitators defy curfew orders to hit the streets.

Train and flight services in the two northeastern states have been widely affected as thousands of protesters have already come out on the streets of Guwahati despite curfew and prohibitory orders.

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Protests rock Northeast: 10 points

1. A day after the Citizenship Bill cleared the Rajya Sabha test, massive protests that started earlier this week continue to keep Guwahati and other parts of Assam and Tripura on the edge. Protesters burnt buses, vehicles and tyres on the road on Wednesday and protests are gathering momentum even now.

2. Guwahati Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar has been removed amid violent protests against the Citizenship Bill. Munna Prasad Gupta will be the new Guwahati police chief.

3. On Thursday as well, thousands of protesters were seen defying orders in Guwahati and took to the streets, prompting police to open fire. Protests have only intensified in Assam while police say they had to open fire in Lalung Gaon area in Guwahati. The agitators claimed that at least four persons were injured in the shooting.

4. Local train services in Tripura and Assam have been suspended following a review of the security situation in the two states. The move has stranded many in these two states which anyway have limited connectivity to the rest of the country. Many passengers are stranded in Kamakhya and Guwahati. Many airlines too have cancelled flight services to Assam, thus stranding many.

5. Several prominent personalities from the Assamese film and music industry, including singer and icon Zubeen Garg, joined student protests on Thursday as hundreds joined the march that was called by students' body AASU and peasants' organisation KMSS.

6. Assam's Kamrup district witnessed an absolute shutdown with offices, schools and colleges closed for the day. Shops were also shut, with no transport plying as all major roads, including the NH 31, being blocked.

7. The government on Thursday issued an advisory to private television channels to be extra cautious about airing content that is likely to incite violence. The advisory has been issued as a caution against showing the violent protests in Northeast.

8. Centre has rushed five columns of Army troops to Assam while three columns of Assam Rifles troops have been deployed in Tripura. The Army conducted flag march in Guwahati on Thursday morning as the city braced for another round of fierce protests.

9. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal once again appealed for calm. He said, "I appeal to the people to maintain peace and not get misled."

10. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tried to reassure the people of Northeast that the controversial Bill won't affect the spirit and nature of the region. He said, "There are attempts to fuel tensions in Northeast, don't be misled by Congress. The traditions, culture, language etc of Assam and other states won't be affected." However, Congress reminded PM Modi that the Internet is suspended in the region and they won't be able to receive his message.

Source : India Today