Unrest in Assam Over Citizenship Bill

Unrest in Assam Over Citizenship Bill

The North East Students’ Organisation (NESO) an umbrella organization of student organizations of North East India have registered their protest by 11 hour bandh on Tuesday against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which is seen as a threat to the indigenous population which have already been overburdened by the large scale influx of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.

The bandh brought the normal life to a standstill in Assam as the buisiness establishments remained downshutter and even exams of various universities were cancelled. The commercial and private vehicles remained off-road causing trouble to commuters. Protesters blocked traffic across the state of Assam, including in the state capital Guwahati and burnt tyres and came out in large numbers.

The 15816 Dekargaon-Kamakhya Intercity Express train was blocked for 40 minutes at Tangla railway station in Udalguri district of Assam by bandh supporters.

Assistant General Secretary of AASU,Jayanta Kumar Bhattacharya said, “We vehemently oppose the bill which is a sheer conspiracy to turn the indigenous people minority by granting citizenship to illegal Hindu immigrants. We will never accept the bill and fight till our last breath.” ,He further said, “If the bill is implemented in state the turmoil will be catastrophic with much larger intensity and magnitude than the historic Assam movement where 860 matyrs sacrificed their lives.”

Throughout the bandh supporters and citizens vented out their anguish against the BJP government and rented out the air with high pitched slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Assam Finance and Health Minister,Himanta Biswa Sarma.

The government in Tripura have suspended SMS and mobile internet connectivity for 48 hours, starting from 2 pm on Tuesday. A government notification, issued by the Additional Secretary to the Government of Tripura AK Bhattacharya said, “It has been noticed that SMS, WhatsApp and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are being widely used for transmission of fake images and videos as well as text messages which have potential to incite violence in the state at a larger rate… Therefore, in order to prevent the misuse of the above mentioned media to disturb the peace and tranquility of the entire state and for maintaining the law and order situation… is hereby directed to promulgate this notification under the provision of Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 to prohibit the following types of media for the next 48 hours beginning from 1400 hours on 10 December, 2019 in the entire state of Tripura.”

Pertinently many parts of North East will not come under the ambit of the citizenship bill including Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland and the Sixth Schedule regions in Tripura, Assam, and Meghalaya.

Shajid Khan is an independent journalist based in Assam whose works have been published in The New YorkTimes,TheTelegraph,FirstPost among other leading national and international publications. He can be reached at [email protected]




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