Amid the protests going on in Assam and Tripura against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Wednesday was stuck at the Guwahati airport as thousands of protesters hit the streets of Assam against the Bill.
A curfew was also imposed in Guwahati in view of the protests that broke out in different parts of the city.
“A curfew has been imposed in Guwahati since 6:15 pm on Wednesday, and it will remain until normalcy is imposed,” said Guwahati police commissioner Deepak Kumar.
Mobile internet services were suspended from 24 hours from 7pm on Wednesday to 7pm till Thursday in Lakhimpur, Tinsukia, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Kamrup (Metro) and Kamrup districts of Assam.
District Magistrate of Dibrugarh ordered the closure of liquor licensed premises from 4pm today for ‘preservation of public peace and tranquility’.
The protesters were raising slogans demanding the unconditional withdrawal of the contentious bill which was passed in Lok Sabha a little past midnight on Tuesday. The Bill was tabled in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday and the debate is still underway.
Sonowal was traveling from Tezpur and was stranded at the VIP lounge of the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International airport, Guwahati. His convoy could not roll out due to massive protests against the central and state governments.
A volatile situation was created as the protesters tried to march towards the state secretariat and burnt tyres on the roads. In order to control the situation, the police fired rubber bullets and tear gas shells.
In Assam, protests erupted in different parts of the BJP-ruled state on Wednesday with the security forces resorting to lathi-charge in Dispur, Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Jorhat to disperse the protesters.
At least 25 protesters including women and some journalists and television crews were injured in the lathi-charge and clashes. The agitators are mostly youths and students.
Normal life in many parts of Assam was badly affected due to the agitations and cancellations of many trains and buses besides shutting down of shops and business establishments.
As protests continued in Guwahati, Police used tear gas shells to disperse the protesters.
In view of the agitations, examinations in schools, colleges and universities were postponed in Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and Meghalaya.
The Army has deployed two columns of security personnel in Tripura and two columns have been put on standby in Assam.
Each column consists of at least 70 personnel. Field Commanders and the Army headquarters are monitoring the situation closely.
According to the proposed legislation, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
Protests have erupted in the northeast as the indigenous people are worried that the entry of these people will endanger their identity and livelihood.
According to the provisions of the CAB, the new legislation would not be applied in the 10 Tribal Autonomous District Council (TADC) areas of Assam (3 TADC), Meghalaya (3), Mizoram (3) and Tripura (one).