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We have proof of Congress, PFI hand in Assam violence: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma | File  

As peaceful protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, continued in Assam, the State’s Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Tuesday that the government had video evidence of the involvement of the Congress and Popular Front of India (PFI) in the violence that left six people dead last week. The Congress trashed the allegation.

Protests rocked several districts of Brahmaputra Valley soon after Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on December 12. Four people, including a school student, died in police firing in Guwahati. Two others were burnt alive by mobs elsewhere in Assam.

“Unless he is a lookalike, videos show State Youth Congress leader Khairul Islam at an arson site,” . We also have video evidence of PFI hand in the violence that was designed to destroy Guwahati, specifically the State Secretarial,” Mr. Sarma said.

The Minister said a Special Investigation Team had been formed to probe the violence and that the Centre had been asked to depute a CBI or NIA officer to assist in the investigation for six months.

On the cease-work strike planned by the Sadou Asom Karmachari Parishad on Wednesday, Mr. Sarma said the government would not take any action. “There will be no pay cut and their absence will be adjusted with CL. But the employees have been asked not to participate in political programmes and join duty from Thursday,” he added.

Hundreds of protesters courted arrest in Guwahati on the second day of “mass Satyagraha” against the “jaatidhwangshi (race-destroying) Act” on Tuesday. The protesters, who included doctors and lawyers, were released after token arrests.

The All-Assam Students’ Union (AASU) general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for saying the protesters can be identified from their clothes. “No one can stop us from raising our voices in our traditional attires,” he said.

AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharyya came down heavily on Mr. Sarma for “trying to confuse and mislead” the people. He warned the government against any move to suppress democratic movement.

Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi also criticised the government for giving the “spontaneous” protest a communal colour. “I have brought out my lawyer’s robe to argue against the Citizenship Act in the Supreme Court, alongside P. Chidambaram,” he said before leaving for New Delhi.

The Gauhati High Court, meanwhile, responded to a PIL petition and instructed the State government to lift the ban on mobile Internet and data services. Broadband service provided by private players was restored on Tuesday. Curfew was also lifted from the violence-hit districts.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2021 7:54:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/sit-to-probe-incidents-of-violence-in-assam-involving-congress-leaders-himanta-biswa-sarma/article30330895.ece

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