Millennium Post

Curfew in Guwahati as Assam turns battleground

Two Army columns deployed in Tripura, 1 dead

Curfew in Guwahati as Assam turns battleground

Guwahati/Agartala: Protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill intensified on Wednesday in the north-eastern states with the administration imposing a curfew in Guwahati till indefinite period. Mobile internet services have been suspended in Assam's 10 districts as a precautionary measure — Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Kamrup (Metro) and Kamrup. The services shall remain suspended from Wednesday 7 pm to Thursday 7 pm.

Meanwhile, an official said that protestors have burnt down Chabua and Panitola railway stations in Assam.

The Indian Army stated that the civil administration has requested its assistance in maintaining law and order situation in Assam and Tripura. "Three Army columns requisitioned by civil administration so far in Tripura and Assam. Two (Tripura) are deployed and third (Assam) is standby," the Army statement said. A protester was reported killed in Tripura.

Also, it has been reported that 5,000 paramilitary personnel have been airlifted to the North-eastern states, including Assam, for the maintenance of law and order in wake protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which is being debated in Parliament. Nearly 20 companies (2,000 personnel) have been withdrawn from Kashmir, where they had been sent prior to the Centre's decision on August 5 to dilute Article 370.

The controversial Bill, which was passed by Lok Sabha with a 311-80 margin at 12.02 am on Tuesday, was tabled in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. In Assam, students proceeded towards the state Secretariat in large numbers, broke barricades and clashed with the police. The police resorted to lathi-charge and fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets at the demonstrators.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal was stuck at the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International airport in Guwahati for some time amidst large scale protests in the streets of the city.

Sources in the Chief Minister's office confirmed that Sonowal was stuck at the airport after he returned from Tezpur in a helicopter.

A large number of agitated students blocked the road near the Secretariat complex and pulled down the barricade erected on the arterial GS Road. Police burst teargas shells and baton-charged the protesters, who were seen lobbing back the shells at the men in uniform.

The student protesters damaged a stage erected on the road for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposed summit meeting with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Sunday. They also pulled down hoardings and banners advertising the government's welfare schemes and made a bonfire of those before the Secretariat.

The police in Dibrugarh fired rubber bullets and tear gas shells to break up protests. Also, a journalist was reported injured in a stone-throwing incident.

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