Asia

Protests against Citizenship Act in Northeast: Key points

NEW DELHI: Two people were killed and several others were injured as protests crippled normal life in several districts of Assam against the Citizenship Act in Parliament.
Thousands of people took to the streets in the state capital Guwahati to demand a rollback of the controversial Bill. Protests were also reported from several other parts of the country.
The Bill gives citizenship to members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after facing persecution there. There is fear in the northeast that granting citizenship to ordinary refugees will undermine the ethnic communities living in these regions.
Here is a look at the top developments-
Curfew relaxed
The indefinite curfew which was in force in Dibrugarh municipal area was relaxed for 5 hours on Friday even as large number of people gathered in Chandmari area of Guwahati to observe a fast called by the AASU to protest against the Citizenship Act.
In Dibrugarh municipal area the indefinite curfew was relaxed from 8 am, officials said.
The Army and the security forces were conducting flag marches in Guwahati town which was the epicentre of the protests, besides Dibrugarh and Tezpur.
A large number of people, including artists, singers and filmstars are observing a 10-hour fast called by the influential students' organisation against the Citizenship Act from 6 am. AASU chief advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya said that the protests will continue.
Assam CM defends protesters
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal defended Assam Students' Union (Aasu) and various indigenous groups protesting against the Bill. The CM said that the violence in the state was result of "a negative force that has infiltrated groups of peaceful protesters".
Internet suspended
In a recent development, the suspension of mobile Internet services was extended for another 48 hours on Thursday in 10 districts of Assam due to protests.
In Tripura, the suspension of mobile internet service was extended for another 24 hours after the 48-hour blockade ended on Thursday afternoon.
Rail traffic suspended
All passenger train services in Tripura and Assam suspended, long-distance trains to region stopped at Guwahati.
"It might be a security threat for passengers if protesters stop the trains. As of now all passenger trains have been suspended and trains from outside the region are being short terminated at Guwahati," a railway official said.
Offices and residences of political leaders ransacked, torched
In central Assam, BJP minister Ranjit Duttas residence was attacked, as were houses belonging to fellow party MLAs Padma Hazarika in Sootea and Debananda Hazarika in Bihpuria constituency. Protesters also ransacked the AGP headquarters in Guwahati and the partys office in DergaonRead More – Source

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