Northeast India, especially Assam has vehemently opposed the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) which was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. With an indefinite curfew in place and army deployed the situation is said to be tense in the state.
News agency PTI, quoting Army PRO Lt Col P Khongsai, reported that two Army columns have been deployed in Guwahati city and are carrying out flag marches. Army has also been deployed in Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Jorhat districts, officials said.
Guwahati, the epicentre of the protests, was placed under indefinite curfew while mobile internet services were suspended in 10 districts in the state. The curfew was later extended to Dibrugarh as protesters targeted the homes of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Union minister Rameswar Teli in the district. Stones were thrown at the house of the chief minister in the Lakhinagar area. Protesters also damaged properties at the house of the Union minister in Duliajan.
According to NDTV, Many trains that start from Assam have been canceled or rescheduled due to the intense protests. A railway station in Dibrugarh’s Chabua, the hometown of the Chief Minister, was set on fire by protestors late in the night. The Panitola railway station in Tinsukia district was also torched, a Northeast Frontier Railway spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, the Joint Movement against CAB (JMACAB) called off its indefinite strike against the bill on Wednesday, following assurance of a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The decision to call of the stir was announced after a meeting between JMACAB representatives and Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb. The JMACAB is an umbrella body of tribal parties and indigenous organisations in the state.
“The chief minister assured us that he will arrange a meeting with the Union home minister at the earliest to share our concern over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. We are happy with the promise,” said BK Hrangkhawl, a senior tribal leader who was part of the delegation.
However, multiple incidents of violence from Tripura’s capital Agartala were reported with an internet ban of 48 hours and Army being deployed to contain the situation.
Both houses of Parliament have passed the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that seeks to give Indian citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.