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Protests against Citizenship Act continue

Protests against Citizenship Act continue
Onlookers watch from a distance as protestors clash with security personnel during a demonstration against the passing of Citizenship Amendment Bill, in front of Raj Bhavan in Shillong.
GUWAHATI/KOLKATA, DEC 13 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 12/13/2019 12:56:21 PM IST

Agitation against the amended Citizenship Act continued on Friday in several parts of the country with protesters hitting the streets to oppose the new law (Citizenship Amendment Act) that allows non-Muslim refugees, who escaped religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan and moved to India before December 31, 2014 to get Indian citizenship. 

While several petitions were filed in the Supreme Court challenging the legislation, chief ministers of at least five states (Punjab, West Bengal, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) announced they would not implement the new Citizenship Act.

Protests against the new Citizenship law showed signs of ebbing away in Assam and elsewhere in the northeast on Friday with relaxation of curfew. 

Curfew was relaxed in Assam’s Dibrugarh, but the ripple effect of anger over the hugely divisive law was felt in West Bengal where Beldanga railway station complex was set ablaze in Murshidabad district and RPF personnel were assaulted.  No violent incidents were reported from Guwahati, the hotbed of violent protests on Thursday, but peaceful protests were held by All Assam Students Union (AASU) and some other outfits. There were reports of police firing in air to disperse protesters in some places in Assam.

AASU began a 10-hour hunger strike at the Chandmari field against the amended citizenship act, which received the assent of President Ramnath Kovind late on Thursday. A large number of people participated in this protest.

The body also declared that it would file a public interest petition in the Supreme Court against the new law. “There is no way Assam or Assamese people will accept it. Besides peaceful protests we will continue legal battle against the law,” AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya was quoted as having said in reports.

While normal life appeared getting back on track in Northeast, parts of West Bengal were in throes of violence as agitators vandalised public property and clashed with police.

Protests were reported in Muslim dominated areas of rural Howrah, Murshidabad, Birbhum, parts of Burdwan and North Bengal. Officials said protesters ransacked Beldanga police station and set vehicles ablaze in Raghunathgaj police station area of Murshidabad district.

Police contingents were rushed to affected places and Mamata Banerjee appealed for calm.

Rail and road traffic was disrupted in several parts of West Bengal.

The protest also reached the national capital on Friday with students of Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi clashing with police while agitating against the Bill. According to reports, hundreds of students had gathered for a march to Parliament House from the university campus to voice their opposition to the legislation.

Students’ unions in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday boycotted their examination to hit the streets across cities, seeking immediate revocation of the law.

Meanwhile, after two senior Bangladesh ministers Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Thursday cancelled their visits to India, the annual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe scheduled from December 15-17 in Guwahati was deferred.

Protests hits oxygen supply in NE: Oxygen supply to all major government as well as private hospitals in Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland as well as Bhutan has been severely hit due to the ongoing protests in Assam, a UNI report stated.

A source in the oxygen manufacturing business in Guwahati, who supplies oxygen to almost all government and private hospitals in Guwahati, numerous other districts of Assam, bordering parts of Bhutan, and is the leading supplier to Meghalaya and Nagaland, said the supply vehicles have not been able to ply since last two days.

Protestors, police clash outside M’laya Raj Bhavan

Correspondent

SHILLONG, DEC 13: Thousands of people on Friday took out a protest march to Meghalaya Raj Bhavan opposing the Citizenship of Amendment and demanding implementation of Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the State.

Police fired nine rounds of tear gas shells as the protesters refused to disperse from the entrance gate of the Raj Bhavan. Governor, Tathagata Roy was inside the Raj Bhavan.

During the protest march, organised by Confederation of Meghalaya Social Organisations (CoMSO) from Motphran point to Raj Bhavan, the protestors shouted slogan “No CAB, Yes ILP” and condemned Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and Home Minister, Amit Shah for passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019. They also shouted slogans against Roy and lone National People’s Party (NPP) Lok Sabha member Agatha Sangma for supporting the contentious Bill.

The angry protesters also demanded Governor Roy to immediately give his assent to the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Ordinance, 2019.

On November 2, the Meghalaya cabinet had approved the amendment to the Meghalaya Residents, Safety and Security Act, 2016 that requires registration of all non-residents, including tourists visiting the state. Governor Roy had said that he was consulting legal luminaries before giving his assent to the Bill.

Meanwhile, mobile internet services remained suspended across the state to prevent from spreading of misinformation.

The Centre has rushed in two companies of Border Security Force to assist the Meghalaya police in maintaining law and order.

Unknown miscreants torched the office building of the Meghalaya Transport Corporation in Jowai and the main cable of broadband internet was also cut causing total internet blackout in West Jaintia Hills.

Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and a team of his cabinet ministers are camping in New Delhi to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah to urge upon him to put in strong measures to ensure protection of the indigenous communities of Meghalaya in view of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

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