A day after the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill received a nod from Lok Sabha, normal life came to a halt in various parts of Assam, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh on Tuesday (December 10).
In Assam’s Brahmaputra Valley, a state-wide bandh was called by two students’ organisations in protest against the CAB.
The 11-hour shutdown, called by the All Assam Students’ Union and the North East Students’ Organisation – an apex body of student unions in the region – however, failed to evoke much impact on Bengali-dominated Barak Valley.
A similar situation prevailed in Arunachal Pradesh. Educational institutions, banks, commercial establishments and markets were closed while public and private vehicles were off the road in the state in response to the bandh called by the All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union (AAPSU), a constituent of North East Students Union. Attendances in government offices were almost nil during the bandh which began at 5 am in the morning, officials said.
The bandh is peaceful except a few stray incidents of stone pelting by bandh supporters, Capital Superintendent of Police (SP) Tumme Amo informed.
According to reports, the bandh is also total in all the districts of the state where respective students bodies have imposed the bandh extending support to AAPSU and NESO. Elaborate security arrangements have been made throughout the state to prevent any untoward incidents during the bandh period.
In Maligaon area of the city, a government-run bus was pelted with stones and a scooter set on fire, sources said.
Shops, markets and business establishments kept shutters down, while educational and financial institutions remained closed for the day, the official sources stated. Huge processions were taken out in different areas of Guwahati, with protesters raising slogans against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019.
Agitators had a scuffle with security forces near the Secretariat and Assembly buildings in Guwahati, when they were prevented from moving forward, police sources said. Train services across Assam were affected as picketers squatted on tracks, a spokesperson of the Railways said.
Some had also attempted to block the entrance to NF Railway headquarters here and Divisional Railway Manager’s office at Rangia in Kamrup district, he said.
Vehicles – both private and public – stayed off the roads, the official sources said, adding that government-run Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) buses plied between Guwahati city and the LGB airport here, with police escort. All scheduled examinations were rescheduled by the Universities in view of the bandh.
In Dibrugarh district, bandh supporters clashed with CISF personnel. Three of them sustained injuries as they tried to prevent the workers of Oil India Ltd (OIL) to enter office at Duliajan area.
Protestors burnt tyres and blocked national highways to stop movement of vehicles in various parts of Assam. Students of Gauhati University and Cotton University in Guwahati, along with those of Assam Agriculture University in Jorhat, took to the streets, seeking immediate withdrawal of the legislation.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, piloted by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, was comfortably passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday night as the ruling BJP enjoys a clear majority in the house.
The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees, who escaped religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. The legislation was passed by 311-80 votes in the Lower House of the Parliament.
(with inputs from agencies)