Citizenship Act: Amit Shah cancels northeast visit as protests continue

Curfew relaxed in Guwahati; mobile Internet, data services remain suspended

December 13, 2019 05:26 pm | Updated June 08, 2020 10:35 pm IST - New Delhi

Participants assemble for a demonstration against the Citizenship Act despite curfew in Guwahati on December 13, 2019.

Participants assemble for a demonstration against the Citizenship Act despite curfew in Guwahati on December 13, 2019.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah cancelled his scheduled visit to Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh on December 15 and 16 as protests continued in several parts of the Northeast against the amended Citizenship Act. The law allows citizenship on the basis of religion to undocumented non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

Mr. Shah was expected to take part in the passing out parade at the North Eastern Police Academy near Shillong on Sunday and a festival in Tawang on Monday. No reason was given by officials for the cancellation.

 

Two people were killed in firing by security forces in Guwahati on Thursday. Curfew was relaxed in Guwahati from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday and there was panic buying of essentials. Suspension of mobile Internet and data service has been extended till 7 p.m. on Saturday.

The All Assam Students' Union (AASU), spearheading the protests against the legislation accused Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal of “surrendering before the Delhi leadership” and vowed to continue to protest in a “Gandhian manner” while calling for calm and shunning violence. 

‘Situation normal’

Assam’s Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) G.P Singh told The Hindu  that the situation was “absolutely normal” and no incidents of violence or arson were reported on Friday.

 

He said the situation will be reviewed and a call will be taken to lift curfew. “The Internet and data services might remain suspended for a couple of days more,” Mr. Singh said. 

He said “democratic protests” were on in the State and in the past two days 75 civilians were injured. “Of these, eight persons have bullet injuries; 60 security personnel were also injured while two have bullet injuries,” he said.

In Itanagar, thousands of university students boycotted examinations and led by the Rajiv Gandhi University Students’ Union (RGUSU) and the Students’ Union of NERIST (SUN) marched till the Raj Bhavan. The agitators submitted a memorandum to Governor B.D. Mishra, demanding that the amended Act should not be implemented in the State.

The Chief Ministers of Kerala, West Bengal and Punjab have refused to implement the legislation in their States. A senior government official said the Central legislation came under the seventh schedule of the Constitution and was applicable to all States. 

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