Northeast Bandh begins against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, security beefed up

Guwahati, January 8: An 11-hour Northeast bandh, called by the Northeast Students’ Organisation (NESO), All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and other 30 indigenous organisations on Tuesday, to protest against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 began amid tight security from 5 am.

The Citizenship Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in 2016 to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955. The Bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship.

The streets wore a deserted look. Tyres were burnt on the roads at various places across the state to prevent movement of vehicles. Shops, educational institutions, and business establishments remain closed. In some places, the vehicles were damaged by the bandh supporters. Several vehicles were damaged in Guwahati, Tinsukia and Dibrugrah. In Guwahati, bandh supporters damaged vehicles in Uzan Bazar, Silpukuhiri and so on.

The railway tracks were blocked briefly in Guwahati and Dibrugarh but the GRP removed picketers from the tracks. On the other hand, the train and flight schedules remained unaffected till now.

It may be mentioned that the Gauhati High Court banned bandh terming it unconstitutional and illegal (The Assam Prevention of Unconstitutional Bandh Act 2013) following the Supreme Court’s verdict in Communist Party of India vs. Bharat Kr (19981 SCC 201) case.

As per reports, the attendance in the government offices was thin as the employees had difficulty in reaching their workplace in the absence of sufficient public transport.

A few number of government-run Assam State Transport Corporation buses were seen plying on the roads in Guwahati.

The NESO comprises of Khasi Students’ Union, AASU, Naga Students’ Federation, Mizo Zirlai Pawi, Twipra Students’ Federation, All Manipur Students’ Union, Garo Students’ Union and All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union