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Tue, 21 Jan 2020

Northeast Today

Anti-CAB bandh in NE total

Anti-CAB bandh in NE total
December 11
11:03 2019

NET Bureau

Normal life came to a standstill during the 11-hour Northeast bandh called by the North East Students’ Union (NESO) which evoked total response across the region, including Guwahati where security forces had to resort to blank firing to disperse the protesters.

In Guwahati’s Rukhminigaon area, police had to fire several rounds of tear gas shells to disperse the agitated crowd.

In what many termed as an ‘unprecedented level’ of protests across the region, people from all walks of life, young and old alike, came down on to the streets since early morning to voice their angst by shouting anti-CAB slogans.

The bandh was called against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) which was passed by the Lok Sabha late last night and is scheduled to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow.

The artiste community too joined the bandwagon and threatened to boycott all government programmes till the CAB is withdrawn.

As the protest escalated, the Chief Minister’s convoy had to avoid its usual route via the Swahid Nyas Bhawan and opted for an alternate route after it left the CM’s residence this morning.

Despite promulgation of Section 144 at various areas, the protests intensified with agitators seen burning the effigies of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma at various locations throughout the day. Tyres were also burnt at several locations and railway lines were blocked leading to disruption of movement of trains on different routes.

At several other districts, protesters tonsured their heads as a mark of protest against the CAB.

However, as the day progressed, the agitation turned violent at various locations, including Guwahati, with protesters damaging public vehicles and even pelted stones at the security personnel, who were forced to take evasive actions.

The AASU protesters also staged a demonstration in front of the NF Railway headquarters at Maligaon where a section of employees were reportedly at work.

Although the bandh was called from 5 am to 4 pm, the protest went beyond the stipulated time and things virtually went out of control at many locations where the police and civil administration had a tough time in controlling the situation.

Irate protesters were also seen scuffling with security personnel who resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the protesters, leaving several injured. In Guwahati, anti-CAB protesters tried to enter the MLA Hostel and Janata Bhawan premises that led to a series of altercation with security forces.

Similar scenes were witnessed across the length and breadth of the State with groups of protesters, led by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), even gheraoing residences of political leaders belonging to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP).

Nearly a thousand anti-CAB protesters were arrested by police during the bandh period across the State.

In Guwahati, members of the AASU burnt the effigy of Guwahati MP Queen Ojha inside the campus of her residence. On the GS Road, agitating crowd restricted the movement of the acting DGP’s vehicle besides several other BJP leaders.

Addressing the gathering in front of the Swahid Nyas Bhawan, NESO adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya said that the BJP-led government is trying to impose a legislation which is detrimental to the interest of the indigenous people, which is an act of betrayal to the martyrs of the Assam Agitation.

“The CAB is a threat to the language and culture of the people of Assam and is against the spirit of Constitution of India,” said Bhattacharya.

Bhattacharya also criticised the role of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal for surrendering to the whims and fancies of his political masters in Delhi.

“The 11-hour bandh has evoked total response from all the States of the region. We are politically divided into seven States we are psychologically and emotionally one and this message has been disseminated to the Centre,” he said, adding, “There will be no let-up in the protests until the CAB is scrapped.”

Source: The Assam Tribune

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