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Published On: Thu, Dec 12th, 2019

Protests against Citizenship Law, 2 die in Guwahati as police fire

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images (16)GUWAHATI : The Indian Army marched through Guwahati to assure peace as Assam’s capital braced for another day of protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which has faced stiff resistance from Opposition parties, minority groups and student bodies.
Sentiments ran high against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment Bill) in Assam on Thursday, as people came out on the streets despite inconveniences caused by imposition of curfew on parts of the state.
Guwahati was placed under indefinite curfew Wednesday and the paramilitary Assam Rifles was deployed in Tripura as protesters in two the northeastern states bordering Bangladesh, feared that the Bill would lead to an influx of settlers if it becomes law.
As the day wore on, a large number of people assembled at several places in the state capital, many holding placards and raising slogans against the emotive legislation.
In a major reshuffle, the Assam government on Thursday replaced the Guwahati Police commissioner and transferred several other senior officers, amid violent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, officials said.
Two protesters were killed and many others injured in police firing in Assam’s Guwahati amid a raging agitation against the Citizenship  Bill on Thursday evening. The incident occurred even as thousands of protesters descended on the streets in defiance of a curfew imposed on the city after the parliament cleared the contentious legislation on Wednesday night.
Earlier today, the government had extended the suspension of Internet services in 10 districts of Assam for another 48 hours, and deployed army personnel in four areas where clashes between protesters and police were witnessed.The residences of several politicians, including Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Union Minister Rameswar Teli, were attacked by protesters as violence continued unabated.
The army columns deployed in Guwahati have carried out flag marches, news agency PTI quoted a senior officer as saying. Army personnel have also been deployed in Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Jorhat districts, the news agency reported.
In a major reshuffle in the midst of the violence, the Assam government replaced Guwahati Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar with IPS officer Munna Prasad Gupta. Assam Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Mukesh Agarwal was also transferred, with IPS officer GP Singh being appointed in his place.
Even as violence continued unabated, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on Thursday morning that the people of Assam have nothing to worry about because “no one can take away your rights”. CM Sonowal also said in a video message that he was “resolutely committed to protect the identity, rights, heritage and culture of the Assamese people”, and urged them to continue on the path of progress “while keeping alive our ancient values of peace, harmony and brotherhood”.
According to police, the headquarters of the Asom Gana Parishad — the BJP’s ally in Assam was attacked by people protesting against the Citizenship Bill in Guwahati’s Ambari area. Two railway stations in Dibrugarh’s Chabua and Tinsukia were also set on fire, a Northeast Frontier Railway spokesperson said. Chabua is the hometown of Mr Sonowal.
In Tripura, three columns of the Assam Rifles, a paramilitary force commanded by army officials, were pressed into service on Wednesday. A defence spokesman had earlier said that two columns of the army were deployed in Tripura. Internet services in Tripura have already been suspended for 48 hours, starting 2 pm on Tuesday.
The opposition Congress has also called for a shutdown in the state to protest the bill, which makes it easier for non-Muslim migrants to gain Indian citizenship. While opposition parties have accused the bill of discriminating against Muslims, protesters in the Northeast claim that it will end up robbing the region of its identity.

Meanwhile,I would like to request the students, brothers and sisters, protesting against Citizenship Amendment Bill in Assam, to not lose control while registering their protest, and maintain peace in the state.
Today he (Amit Shah) called us because we had called for an indefinite strike to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill. We have called off our indefinite strike: Anthony Deb Barma, Convenor of Joint Movement against Citizenship Amendment Bill.
(With Agency Inputs ).

 

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