After the back-to-back bandhs called by the local organisations and students’ bodies over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB, Assam continues to be restive.
Normal life across Assam came to a standstill on December 10th, 2019 in view of an 11-hour bandh called by North East Students Organisation and the influential All Assam Students Union against the Bill.
Though agitators claimed the Bill is against the spirit of secularism and nullify the historic 1985 Assam Accord, the Bill supporters said that upholding humanitarian values, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 empowers persecuted religious minorities by giving Indian citizenship.
#IndiaSupportsCAB started trending as one of the top India trends on Twitter with over 10,000 tweets till 11 am. The Bharatiya Janata Party leaders took to Twitter to hail the “historic Bill”. After getting nod from the Lok Sabha, the Bill will be introduced in the Rajya Sabha on December 11th, 2019.
Agitators are continuing to protest against the Bill on December 11th, 2019 in different parts of the state. In Guwahati, the agitators blocked the GS Road demanding the withdrawal of the Bill. Protestors clashed with the police in several places in Assam over the Bill protests. Protestors also burnt the copies of the Bill in several places of Guwahati.
A trail of violence was reported in Guwahati during the 11-hour bandh on December 10th, 2019. The protestors in Guwahati had set up a blockade and burnt tyres to protest against the controversial Bill. Police had to resort of lathi-charge, tear gas shells, use water cannons to disperse the raging crowd.
A few more protesters were injured during clashes with the security personnel in Jorhat, Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam. Protestors also vandalised, torched vehicles, pelted stones at cars, buses in several places including Guwahati. Many cars were stopped midway by the protestors and were forced to return back.
Attendance in offices was comparatively low and all the educationals institutes remained closed due to the bandh in Assam. Examinations scheduled for December 10th-11th, 2019 were also postponed until further notice.
The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi, Jain and Christian refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India before December 31st, 2004.
The Bill, piloted by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, was comfortably passed with 311 votes in the Lok Sabha on the night of December 9th, 2019 as the ruling BJP enjoys a clear majority in the Lower House.
Photo: @smitaranideka and @pranabkumargogoi