Tens of thousands of protesters descended on the streets of Guwahati on December 11th, 2019 against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019. The chaos and protest of such a magnitude at the heart of the city were unseen or unheard since the six-year movement by students that ended with the signing of the historic Assam Accord in 1985.
In the busy Ganesghuri area, the protesters damaged platforms and decorations that were being put up ahead of the visit of Japan Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Indo-Japan Annual Summit scheduled for December 15th, 2019.
The protestors tore down the banners, posters and lit bonfires in the middle of the road towards the Janata Bhawan. Anti-Bill slogans were written by the protesters on the walls which were freshly painted as part of beautification to welcome the Japanese Prime Minister.
The city is being spruced up to welcome Abe and Modi for the Indo-Japan Annual Summit. Walls have been painted with colourful graffiti depicting Japanese and Indian cultural ties in Machkhowa. The Brahmaputra riverfront is being decked up ahead of Abe’s visit to Guwahati.
However, in wake of non-stop protests against the Bill and Guwahati becoming a battleground on December 11th, 2019, the venue for the summit has been shifted to Bhubaneswar, as per reports.
Several protesters were injured and several vehicles damaged and torched by protesters. One school bus was set on fire by agitators in Dispur in the evening hours of December 11th, 2019.
The protesters burnt tyres, logs and bamboo poles on along the road disrupting traffic. Many commuters were left stranded as vehicles vanished from the roads due to the protests. Stones were thrown in Dispur and Ulubari areas of the city.
Police used blank firing, water cannons, fired teargas shells and baton-charged protesters, who fought back. Near Dispur Last Gate, the seething protesters snatched a water cannon and turned the jet on the security personnel.
At 6:15 pm, curfew was imposed for an indefinite period in Guwahati. At 7 pm, mobile Internet services of all carriers across 10 of the 33 districts in Assam were suspended for 24 hours. The districts are Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Kamrup (metro) and Kamrup.
Two columns of the army have been deployed in Guwahati. Another column has been kept on standby in the Bongaigaon district. Police and CRPF personnel are patrolling the streets of Guwahati.