As protests against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 intensified, 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.

Two columns have been deployed in the Kanchanpur and Manu areas of Tripura, while a third is on standby approximately a kilometre away from Bongaingon in Assam.

According to news agency PTI, as many as 5,000 paramilitary personnel are being sent to the North East to ensure peace in wake of protests over Citizenship Bill.

The heavy deployment comes amid violent protests emerging from the two northeast states over Citizenship Bill, which is being fiercely debated upon by the BJP government, its allies and the Opposition parties in Rajya Sabha.

Meanwhile, the BJP government in Tripura has suspended internet services for 48 hours to prevent rumours. The clampdown on communication came into effect even as many demonstrators raised slogans against the centre in Agartala, demanding that the state be kept out of the purview of the controversial bill.

Amid protests, a two-month-old unwell child died on its way to a hospital when the ambulance got stuck in a road blockade.

The police had to fire four rounds in the air to disperse clashing groups at Bishramganj in Sepahijala district. Around 15 people were injured in the clash at Bishramganj where the ambulance got stuck in a road blockade leading to the baby’s death.

About 40 people were injured in clashes at three places in Tripura during an 11-hour bandh on Tuesday, the police said.

Besides Bishramganj, clashes erupted between tribals and non-tribals at Kanchanpur in North Tripura district and Manughat Bazar in Dhalai district. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC were imposed in the three areas.

The influential North East Students’ Organisations (NESO), a conglomerate of eight students and youth bodies, spearheading the agitations against the CAB in the entire northeast region, has said that they would soon announce their next course of action on the issue.

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.

Meanwhile, according to an ANI report, paramilitary forces are being withdrawn from Jammu and Kashmir and about 20 CRPF companies will be sent to Assam.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan after facing religious persecution there.

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).

Also, the new legislation on citizenship would not be executed in three northeastern states — Arunachal, Nagaland and Mizoram — where the Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime is applicable.

Despite the exemptions, the agitating organisations and political parties in the Northeast have remained firm on their demand for withdrawing CAB, claiming the exemptions would not be able to check infiltrations or protect the demographic positions of the indigenous people of the northeast region.