Citizenship Amendment Bill: Situation improves in Assam

Guwahati: The curfew, enforced in the northeastern Indian city of Guwahati due to the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, was relaxed for seven hours since 9 a.m. on Saturday, as the situation improved in Assam, even though train services continued to be affected.

In Dibrugarh municipal area, the curfew was relaxed from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., officials said.

With prohibitory orders relaxed till 4 p.m., shops and markets opened in the capital city and some vehicles were seen plying on the roads.

However, schools continued to remain shut.

“The situation is improving. Curfew has been withdrawn up to 4 p.m. today. Normalcy seems to be returning gradually,” Guwahati joint commissioner of police Debraj Upadhyay said over phone.

He said forces have been strategically deployed throughout the commissionerate for maintenance of law and order.

The officer informed that a number of people have been arrested in different police stations, but could not give the exact figure.

People lined up before shops selling essentials like food items and a large number of cars were seen outside petrol pumps for refuelling.

At least two people have died during violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, which is now a law after the President’s assent.

A Northeast Frontier Railway Spokesman told IANS that train movement was “not yet normal” in the state.

“The local passenger trains were not running. Long distance trains to Dibrugarh and Tinsukia are being short terminated in Guwahati. However, Long distance trains to Agartala and Silchar are plying,” NFR Chief Public Relations Officer Subhanan Chanda told IANS.

On Thursday, thousands of people defied the curfew and took to the streets as the raging agitation saw the house of an MLA and a Circle Officer set ablaze, while the government removed two key police officers.

Two protesters with bullet wounds were taken to the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital, where one was declared dead before the other succumbed to injuries. At least 11 others were injured during the protests.

The All Assam Students Union (AASU), which is spearheading the protests, has called a three-day mass satyagraha in all district headquarters of the state from December 16.

Announcing the fresh agitation programme, AASU Chief Adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya on Friday coined the slogan “Repeal Citizenship Amendment Act or arrest me”.

Bhattacharya said padyatra and protest meetings would be organised across the state and posters would be put up against the controversial law.

Meanwhile, authorities have rolled out measures to help the hundreds of passengers stranded at the airport, railways stations and inter-state bus terminals due to the protests which have led to suspension of flight, train and public road transport services.

The NFR has decided to run a special train from Guwahati to Dimapur at 2.30 p.m. for the stranded passengers.

Special buses are also being run to ferry those stranded in Guwahati to various parts of the city, an official said.