1,026 Persons Arrested in 12 Days for Anti-CAA Stir in Assam: CM

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GUWAHATI, Dec 20 (PTI): Altogether 1,026 persons, including 11 under the UA(P)A, were arrested in 12 days during protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December 2019 across Assam, the state Assembly was informed on Monday.
From December 9 to 20 in 2019, a total of 88 police personnel and 20 civilians were injured, while 25 incidents of firing, 19 cases of lathicharge and 15 instances of lobbying tear gas shells took place, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
In a written reply to a query by Independent MLA Akhil Gogoi, Sarma said 1,026 persons were arrested during those 12 days of protests against the law that rocked the state.
“Cases were registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 against 11 persons. NIA probe was ordered against six persons,” said Sarma, who also holds the home portfolio.
He said the police had registered 406 cases related to the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests across the state.
Sarma said 20 persons suffered injuries in police lathicharge and firing. A total of 88 police personnel were also injured in the violent clash with the protestors.
He also informed the House that three persons were killed in police firing, while one more person died but it is not sure whose bullets had killed him.
The chief minister further said that there is no provision of giving any compensation to the families of the deceased or the injured persons.
He also claimed that “no foreigner will come to the state” under the CAA.
The contentious CAA seeks to provide Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis entering India on or before December 31, 2014 from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after five years of residence here.
The anti-CAA stir began as a mass movement led by student and youth organisations in early 2019 before the Lok Sabha polls. It subsided after the 2016 format of the bill lapsed in June 2019 when the term of the then Lok Sabha ended as it could not be tabled and passed in Rajya Sabha.
When the bill for the present CAA was passed in the Lok Sabha on December 9, 2019, Assam witnessed one of the worst violent protests for several days by the public in its history with three rail stations, post office, bank, bus terminus, shops, dozens of vehicles and many other public and private properties being set ablaze or totally damaged.
After the Rajya Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on December 11, the state erupted in uncontrolled protests in which agitators engaged in pitched battles with the police and administration in almost every major city or town.
This led to a government crackdown. Leaders of the stir were arrested, internet connectivity was suspended and curfew imposed.
The momentum of the stir slowed down after All Assam Students Union decided not to block roads, organise demonstrations in fields and end daily protests before sunset.
The stir almost died down after AASU announced a “temporary break” from protests in view of class 10 and 12 board exams in January-February 2020. The agitation literally died down following the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdowns.
The political parties born out of the anti-CAA stir performed miserably in this year’s assembly elections, with the AJP scoring a duck and only Raijor Dal supremo Akhil Gogoi winning the Sibsagar seat.

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