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Protest: Streets to Supreme Court

Discontent and curfew continue in Assam
Jawans conduct a flag march in Guwahati on Friday

Pranjal Baruah   |   Guwahati   |   Published 13.12.19, 09:30 PM

Assam witnessed a complete shutdown in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, for the fourth consecutive day on Friday with the people expressing ire on the streets. A petition challenging the act was also filed in the Supreme Court.

Protesters burnt vehicles in Dibrugarh and thronged the streets of Guwahati for the second day to participate in protests despite curfew. However, no injuries or deaths were reported.

In Dibrugarh a Scorpio was vandalised on NH37 near Kumaronisiga, leading to blank firing by police.

The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and other organisations spearheading the agitation appealed for peace and decided not to protest after dusk.

AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharjya said, “There will be no protest after 5pm. Unknown forces are trying to malign the movement with violence. That’s why we want the people of the state to keep patience as the battle against the act will go a long way.”

Along with AASU, at least 13 other petitions, including those by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh and Trinamul Congress MP Mahua Moitra, were filed in the Supreme Court on Friday challenging the constitutional validity of the act.

Matiur Rahman, working president of Assam Sanmilita Mahasangha, said, “We had moved the Supreme Court against the first notification of the act in 2016 and it’s pending before a constitutional bench. On December 16, we will file a fresh plea before the Chief Justice of India.”

Curfew was relaxed for five hours in Dibrugarh, though not in Guwahati. Night curfew (6pm till 6am) continued in Tinsukia, Golaghat, Lakhimpur, Dhemaji and Jorhat districts.

A defence spokesperson said the Assam Rifles was requisitioned, particularly in Guwahati, Morigaon, Sonitpur and Dibrugarh, to arrest the deteriorating law and order situation.

“Till now, eight columns have been requisitioned, including one each in Bongaigaon and Morigaon, four in Guwahati and two in Sonitpur,” the spokesperson said.

Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) leader Akhil Gogoi, who was arrested on Thursday night as a preventive measure, was sent to judicial custody on Friday.

At least four persons were arrested in Golaghat district in connection with the vandalisation of an RSS office.

Flight and train services were affected and mobile Internet ban continued in the state. The airport authority said at least 11 flights were cancelled.

At least 47 trains were also either cancelled or short-terminated. “The Dibrugarh-bound Rajdhani Express which left New Delhi on Thursday, will be short-terminated at Guwahati and remain partially cancelled between Guwahati and Dibrugarh. The New Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express of December 16 will also remain partially cancelled between Dibrugarh and Guwahati and will start from Guwahati on December 17,” said Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) chief public relations officer Subhanan Chanda.

In Barak Valley, the administration cancelled a religious function slated for December 14 and 15.

In a statement, the state government said it has provided buses to ferry passengers stranded at New Jalpaiguri and Bongaigaon railway stations. Food, medical aid and water supply are being provided to those stranded at Borjhar airport, Guwahati railway station and the interstate bus terminus, it added.

The government has also opened helpline number 1079 for the state and 1077 for the city.


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