CAB stir: Agitators clash with security forces in Assam, train services affected

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11-hour shutdown spontaneous, total

HT Bureau

GUWAHATI/ JORHAT, Dec 10: The 11-hour Northeast bandh called by All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and North East Students Organisation (NESO) in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill paralysed normal life of the people all throughout Assam on Tuesday. The shutdown coincided with the bandh called by Left-leaning organisations, including SFI, DYFI, AIDWA, AISF and AISA.

Thousands of protestors came to the street to impose the bandh in the city since the morning. The protests turned violent and there were reports of police-public clash in many places of the city. Huge processions were taken out in different areas of Guwahati, with protesters raising slogans against the contentious bill.

Shops, markets and business establishments kept shutters down, while educational and financial institutions remained closed for the day. Vehicles – both private and public – stayed off the roads. The government-run Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) buses plied between Guwahati city and the LGBI airport here with police escort.

Examinations were shelved and rescheduled by Universities in view of the bandh. The protestors pelted stones on a government-run bus and a set ablaze a scooter in Maligaon area of the city.

The protesters also set ablaze a two wheeler at Hatigaon and also attacked few vehicles at Noonmati, Zoo road during the bandh period.

Agitators engaged in a scuffle with security forces near the Assam Secretariat and Assembly buildings in Guwahati, when they were prevented from moving forward.

The protesters pelted stone at the police following a clash and the police subsequently resorted to baton charge and blank fire. Police also fired tear gas to disperse the agitators. Hundreds of protesters came out and gathered on GS Road following the shutdown call given by the NESO.

The protesters also tried to gherao the residence of Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at AIDC area in Guwahati. Police stopped hundreds of protesters at AIDC area, who marched to gherao the minister’s residence.

Similar protest was carried out in Sixmile area of the city. Train services across Assam were affected as picketers blocked the tracks, a spokesperson of the Northeast Frontier Railways said.

Some of them also attempted to block the entrance to NF Railway headquarters at Maligaon and divisional railway manager’s office at Rangia in Kamrup district, he said. Actors and singers of the Assamese film industry organised a demonstration at Chandmari area here. Some of them also took part in a rally at Uzan Bazar area of the city.

Assamese actor Barsha Rani Bishaya said they will move the Supreme  Court against the bill as it has violated the Constitution. Assamese singer Dikshu said, “We are protesting against the bill from the very beginning, but they never look at our emotions.”

Students of Gauhati University and Cotton University in Guwahati, along with those of Assam Agriculture University in Jorhat, took to the streets, seeking immediate withdrawal of the legislation.

In Jorhat, several picketeers were picked up by the police. Tyres were burnt in some places. Vehicles and public transport kept off the roads. Educational and business establishments remained closed for the second day on Tuesday in protest against the CAB.

Meanwhile, the Jorhat district administration has restricted any individual or organisation from carrying  inflammable objects including fire torches, candles, burning of tyres and effigies in public places, roads, in front of government offices, residences of public representatives, renowned persons and government officers with immediate effect.

In a notification, Jorhat deputy commissioner Roshni Aparanji Korati as district magistrate has stated that she has reason to believe that given the prevailing law and order situation, there was a possibility of breach of peace and public tranquility in the district.

The notification further said that in exercise of powers conferred upon her under Section 144 of CrPC which has been in place since December 6 it was necessary to take urgent steps to prevent any untoward incident given the prevailing law and situation in the district.

In this regard the aforementioned restrictions have been added to the prohibitory section 144 Cr PC in the district, the notification further said.

Any person violating this order would be tried under Section 188 of IPC. Police had to resort to blank firing to quell a mob if protestors who pelted stones at the policemen at the Malow Ali-Jorhat Bypass  intersectionon Tuesday late evening.

Additional SP (security) Imdad Ali said that a team of policemen had gone to the place on being informed that protestors against CAB were burning tyres on the Bypass section of NH 37: which had brought traffic to a standstill on both sides.

“An altercation ensued with the protestors with the Jorhat OC Ranjit Chetia being manhandled. We resorted to a mild lathi charge to disperse the mob, following which they pelted us with stones,” the official said.

He further said that the police had blank fired three rounds of rubber pellets. One policeman Abdul Qadir was severely injured in the stone pelting while another sustained minor injuries. It was reported that three persons were also injured in the melee.

In Dibrugarh district, bandh supporters clashed with CISF personnel. Three of them sustained injuries as they tried to prevent the workers of Oil India Ltd (OIL) to enter office at Duliajan area. Protesters burnt tyres and blocked national highways to stop movement of vehicles in various parts of Assam.

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