Bandh against Citizenship Bill hits normal life in Northeast
Seven injured in Tripura, several volunteers arrested in Diphu
Diphu, Jan. 8, (EMN): Normal life came to a standstill in North-eastern states on Tuesday during a dawn-to-dusk shutdown called by the North East Students Organisation (NESO) in protest against the Modi government’s move to go ahead with the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
At least seven persons were injured, some with gunshot wounds, on Tuesday in West Tripura district, when police and paramilitary jawans resorted to lathicharge and opened fire in the air to disperse Citizenship Bill protesters.
Those injured included Tripura State Rifles (TSR) personnel and six Twipra Student Federation (TSF) members who blocked the Assam-Agartala National Highway at Madhabbari in Jirania police station area of the district to oppose the Bill, a senior police officer said.
After several failed attempts to convince the protesters to withdraw the blockade on the National Highway, police resorted to lathicharge, burst tear gas cells and opened fire in the air, AIG (Law and Order) Subrata Chakraborty said.
“Although the exact number of injured is yet to be ascertained, most of them were initially admitted at Khumulwung hospital in Jirania and later shifted to G B Pant hospital and Agartala Medical College here,” he said.
Jirania SDPO Pran Krishna Das said the bandh supporters set fire to around ten shops in the area.
The situation is tense but under control with Assam Rifles personnel posted in the region, he said.
TSF General Secretary Sunil Debbarma, on his part, said the six bandh supporters suffered bullet injuries without any provocation.
“When six of our activists received bullet injuries, they were admitted to nearby Khumulwung hospital. As their condition started deteriorating, they were referred to GB Pant hospital,” he said.
Debbarma also said that the TSR personnel attacked the ambulance which was ferrying the injured activists from one hospital to another.
“The ambulance was attacked and damaged by TSR personnel. It was only after the district superintendent of police intervened, the injured were allowed to head for the GB Pant Hospital”, he told reporters.
In Diphu, it was reported that some volunteers of Karbi Students Association (KSA) and All Assam Students Union (AASU) Diphu regional committee were arrested from Rongnihang and Birla by the police while trying to stop the commuters.
During agitation, members shouted slogan against BJP government — “Assam CM Sarbananda Sonawal Go back,” “Assam Govt.Hosiyar!!”
Talking to reporters, KSA President Bijoy Bey said, “if our members are not release today itself we shall call indefinite bandh from Wednesday.”
In Manipur, a functionary of AMSU informed that seven volunteers were picked from new Checkon and Khwairamband Keithel areas in Imphal.
Normal life was also crippled in Mizoram and Meghalaya.
Almost all government establishments and educational institutions remained closed across the state. Public transport went off the roads.
National Highway-40 and 44, the lifeline for landlocked Mizoram, Tripura and parts of Manipur and Assam, were also affected by the shutdown.
Agitators clashed with police, gheraoed Sonowal’s house in Dibrugarh
Agitators clashed with the police, gheraoed Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s house at his native place in Dibrugarh, blocked national highways and damaged vehicles in Assam during an 11-hour “bandh” called by the AASU to protest against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
According to PTI, the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) activists clashed with the police when they attempted to ransack a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office in Dibrugarh, prompting the security forces to resort to lathicharge and fire rubber bullets to disperse the protestors.
Nobody was injured in the incident, the police said.
The agitators gheraoed Sonowal’s house in his home town, Dibrugarh, to register their protest against the bill. They raised slogans that the chief minister had no reason to continue on his post as he could not protect the interests of the people of the state.
The protesters blocked roads and national highways by burning tyres and smashed the windshields of trucks, cars and autorickshaws at many places, including in Guwahati, the police said.
The picketers squatted on the railway tracks at various places in Guwahati and Dibrugarh district, but the movement of trains, including that of the Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express and the Kolkata-bound Kamrup Express, resumed after the Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel removed them from the tracks, railway sources said.
Private and government vehicles plying on the national highways were being escorted by the police in convoys, they added.
Banners and posters at a BJP office were set ablaze in Golaghat, while a black flag was put up at another office of the saffron party in Lakhimpur district, the police said.
Tripura suspends SMS, mobile Internet for 2 days
The Tripura government on Tuesday suspended mobile Internet and SMS services in the entire state for two days in the apprehension of law and order problem following a clash in West Tripura district.
In a notification, the home department said, “Incidents of rioting and arsoning have occurred in some areas in Jirania police station under West Tripura district and photographs of such incidents are being uploaded in the social media which may likely to generate serious law and order situation….”
Those photos are likely to be used for transmission of fake information and to prevent this, use of SMS messages and mobile Internet/data services are being prohibited for 48 hours since 3 pm Tuesday, the notification said.
Neso flays passage of Citizenship Bill, warns of more agitation
Condemning the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha, the North East Students Organisation (Neso) on Tuesday warned of more agitation across the northeastern states due to “another political injustice meted out by the Indian government on the indigenous people ”.
“The passage of the Bill in the Lok Sabha is another political injustice meted out by the Indian government on the indigenous people of the northeastern states,” Neso Chairman Samuel Jyrwa told IANS.
“This is a clear move of the government and their intention is reduce the indigenous people of the northeast to a minority in our own land,” he said.Warning of severe agitation across the northeastern states, Jyrwa said the apex student’s body of the indigenous student groups will soon meet and decide on the next future course of action.
“NESO will not be quiet but will keep on following on this very vital issue and will take appropriate decisions,” he said.