Bandh, protests against Citizenship Bill hit normal life in Northeast

A man walks on the deserted Saraighat bridge which connects the northeast with the rest of India during the 12-hour Assam bandh.

A man walks on the deserted Saraighat bridge which connects the northeast with the rest of India during the 12-hour Assam bandh.   | Photo Credit: RituRajKonwar

more-in

Security was beefed up in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.

Large parts of the northeast on December 10 simmered with protests by students’ unions and Left-democratic organisations against the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha.

A day before the divisive legislation is tabled in the Rajya Sabha, life was paralysed in Assam’s Brahmaputra Valley during the shutdown, led by the All Assam Students’ Union and the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO).

The strike coincided with the bandh called by Left-leaning organisations, including the SFI, DYFI, AIDWA, AISF and AISA.

Huge processions were taken out in different areas of Guwahati, with protesters raising slogans against the emotive legislation.

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

In Dibrugarh district, bandh supporters clashed with CISF personnel. Three protesters sustained injuries as they tried to prevent workers of Oil India Ltd. (OIL) from entering their offices in Duliajan.

Train services across Assam were affected as picketers blocked the tracks, a spokesperson for the Railways said.

Examinations were shelved and rescheduled by universities because of the bandh.

The strike, however, had little impact in Bengali-dominated Barak Valley.

In Tripura, agitators participating in a bandh called by the NESO set a market, where shops were owned mostly by non-tribals, on fire in Dhalai district, police said.

However, no one was injured in the incident and the blaze at Manughat market was doused, a senior police officer said.

“Security forces have been deployed in the market but the incident has created fear among the non-tribals who owned most of the shops,” the officer said.

The bandh threw normal life out of gear in Dhalai, West Tripura and Khowai districts with residents remaining indoors while attendance in offices was thin, he said.

Train services in the entire State came to a complete halt and vehicular movement was affected, the officer said.

Educational institutions, banks, commercial establishments and markets were closed while public and private vehicles were off the roads in most places of Arunachal Pradesh in response to the strike called by the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU).

Attendance in government offices was almost nil during the bandh which began at 5 a.m., officials said.

The All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) observed a total shutdown in the State from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the organisation warning that it would intensify its agitation if the bill was not immediately withdrawn.

Incidents of tyre burning and vandalisation of vehicles were reported in Meghalaya capital Shillong, as protesters lobbed Molotov cocktails at a police vehicle damaging it in Mawlai area, East Khasi Hills District Deputy Commissioner M.W. Nongbri told PTI.

Additional police and CRPF forces have been deployed in sensitive areas, officials said.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill piloted by Home Minister Amit Shah was passed by the Lok Sabha with an overwhelming majority on December 9 night.

According to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, non-Muslim minorities, who fled religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan and moved to the country before December 31, 2014, will be accorded Indian citizenship.

It, however, exempted tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram or Tripura, as included in the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, and areas covered under The Inner Line Permit system, notified under Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873.

Mr. Shah has asserted that the Modi government was committed to protecting the customs and culture of the northeastern States in an effort to assuage concerns that the proposed law will hurt their distinct identity and alter regional demography.

More updates:

 

BJP does not make false promises, says N. Biren

Defying the 15-hour total shutdown in Manipur imposed by the All Manipur Students Union as a part of the agitation, the BJP held a public meeting on Tuesday.

The BJP claimed that Home Minister Amit Shah had announced on Monday the extension of the Inner Line Permit system since the party which also in power in Manipur.

N. Biren, the Manipur Chief Minister and some Ministers led the procession of the BJP workers from the party office to the BOAT complex in Manipur. Biren said, “We have shown in action that the BJP does not make false promises”.

 

Jahnu Barua withdraws ‘Bhoga Khirikee’ from film festival in protest

National Award-winning filmmaker Jahnu Barua on Tuesday said he has withdrawn his film Bhoga Khirikee (Broken Window) from the upcoming Assam State Film Awards and Film Festival in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB).

Expressing anguish over the ongoing unrest across Assam and North East, the Padma Bhushan awardee said that the leaders are “disrobing the motherland” only because of power politics.

“I am very unhappy at the ongoing situation regarding the Bill. This Bill should not have happened. We believed the leadership, but they are not trying to understand us. In such a situation, I do not want to participate in such a programme,” Mr. Barua told PTI.

The 8th Assam State Film Awards and Film Festival, 2019 is scheduled to take place on December 26 and 27 in Guwahati.

Read more
 

 

Students’ union in Manipur observes 15-hour bandh

The All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) on Tuesday called for a total shutdown in the state from 3 a.m. to 6 p.m. to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

The union, a constituent of North East Student’s Organisation (NESO), said it would intensify its agitation if the Bill was not immediately withdrawn.

Normal life was affected in parts of Manipur on Tuesday morning as shops and business establishments kept shutters down, and educational and financial institutions remained closed for the day, official sources said.

Vehicles — both public and private — stayed off the roads as demonstrators hit the streets in protest.

Laishram Athouba Meitei, the president of All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU), said the protests would continue till the central government conceded.

He, however, hailed the Centre’s decision to introduce the Inner line Permit system in the border State.

 

Citizenship Bill will dilute Article 371F in long run: Bhaichung Bhutia

Footballer-turned-politician Bhaichung Bhutia on Tuesday expressed disappointment that Sikkim was not excluded from the ambit of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, unlike several other northeastern states.

Bhutia, also working president of Hamro Sikkim Party, expressed his fears that the legislation will dilute special provisions of the Himalayan state that it enjoys under Article 371F of the Constitution.

He also urged the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha-led government to press for implementing Inner Line Permit in the state and quit the NDA in protest against the passage of the Bill.

 

Bandh affects normal life in Meghalaya

Normal life was affected in Meghalaya too as a result of the bandh called by the Khasi Students Union (KSU), a constituent of the NESO, to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

Shops, markets and business establishments kept shutters down, while educational and financial institutions remained closed for the day, officials said.

Government offices were open but recorded less than 10 per cent attendance, they said.

Incidents of burning of tyres and vandalising of vehicles have been reported in the state capital as protesters lobbed Molotov cocktail at a police vehicle damaging it in Mawlai area, East Khasi Hills district Deputy Commissioner M.W. Nongbri said.

 

Bandh agitators clash with security forces in Assam

Normal life came to a halt on Tuesday in Assam’s Brahmaputra Valley owing to a Statewide bandh called by students’ unions and Left-democratic organisations in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

The shutdown, led by the All Assam Students’ Union and the North East Students’ Organisation, has coincided with the bandh called by Left-leaning organizations, including SFI, DYFI, AIDWA, AISF and AISA.

The strike, however, did not have much impact on the Bengali-dominated Barak Valley.

In Maligaon area of the city, a government-run bus was pelted with stones and a scooter set on fire, sources said.

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

Train services across Assam were affected as picketers blocked the tracks, a spokesperson of the Railways said.

 

Manpac suspends stir after being brought under ILP

The Manipur People Against CAB (Manpac), which was spearheading the agitation in the State, has announced suspension of its stir on Monday, after Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the to be brought under Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime.

Indigenous people of the Northeastern states are scared that the entry of these people will endanger their identity and livelihood. Various organisations of the region have launched a series of agitations against the Bill.

Parties and organisations such as the Congress, AIUDF, All Assam Students Union, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union, Khasi Students Union and the Naga Students Federation are backing the NESO to observe the bandh.

A total of 16 left-leaning organisations such as the SFI, DYFI, AIDWA, AISF, AISA and the IPTA has also called a 12-hour bandh in Assam, coinciding with the NESO-organised shutdown.

Gauhati University and Dibrugarh University in the state have postponed all examinations scheduled for tomorrow.

The Bill would not be applicable to Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram where the ILP system exists and those tribal regions of Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura which are governed under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

This is the second region-wise bandh in this issue this year. Several organisations observed a bandh on January 8 when the earlier Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed.

(With inputs from Iboyaima Laithangbam)

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 1:06:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/11-hour-northeast-bandh-underway-to-protest-against-citizenship-bill/article30265015.ece

Next Story