With sharp criticism and protests emerging from the northeast India over controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill, BJP government in Tripura suspended internet services for 48 hours to prevent rumours. In the middle of violent protests against the controversial, a two-month-old unwell child died on its way to a hospital when the ambulance got stuck in a road blockade.
About 40 people were injured in clashes at three places in Tripura during an 11-hour bandh on Tuesday, the police said. The communications clampdown 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.
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. The child was being taken from Udaipur in Gomati district to Ambassa in Dhalai district for treatment, 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.
Protesters entered a tribal village in Anandabazar area of North Tripura district and attacked the people, forcing many villagers to seek refuge at the local police station. “Six Tripura State Rifles personnel and at least 15 villagers were injured in the clash,” Subdivisional Magistrate of Kanchapur, Abhedananda Baidya, said.
At Manughat in Dhalai district, at least four people were injured in a clash between shutdown supporters and shop-keepers. A market in which shops are owned mostly by non-tribals, was set on fire, the police said. However, no casualty was reported in the incident.
Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said the protestors did not know why they are observing a bandh when the state’s tribal areas have been kept outside the purview of the CAB.
The 11-hour bandh called by the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), backed by various other bodies and political parties, evoked a strong response in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) areas.
The TTAADC constitutes two-third of the state’s territory and is the home to tribals who form one-third of its population.
The shutdown threw normal life out of gear in Dhalai, West Tripura and Khowai districts with residents remaining indoors while attendance at offices was thin, the police said.
Train services in the entire state came to a complete halt and vehicular movement was affected. Bandh supporters blocked a busy road near Astable Ground in Agartala for some time.
Condemning the violence during the bandh, Joint Movement Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (JMACAB) president BK Hrangkhawl alleged that the police failed to control the situation.
“We hope the Central government will hear our plea and withdraw the CAB to provide protection to the indigenous people in Tripura,” he said. Hranghkawl said the JMACAB would continue its protests against the CAB until the Centre guarantees the protection of indigenous people in Tripura.
The legislation seeks to grant Indian citizenship to religious minorities of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh who are fleeing persecution there. It was passed in the Lok Sabha with 311-80 votes on Monday night.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced in the Parliament on Monday that areas under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTADC) will be exempted from the ambit of the Bill.