Since December 10th, Guwahati and several parts of Upper Assam have been on lockdown, as protests erupted against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act 2019. 5 columns of army have been deployed, and paramilitary and state police personnel were stationed.
The protests across Assam took a severe turn when two people were killed in Guwahati on Thursday; the police opened fire at the protestors who defied the curfew. Both of the deceased were teenagers; and according to reports, the police fired without warning.
According to an eye witness, “Four five police vehicles came in and parked themselves at some distance from the approaching protesters. Then several men wearing helmets got down from the last vehicle, took position and started firing without any warning.”
Reports suggest that the officer claimed protestors pelted the policemen with stones and bricks, and when the attempts to subdue them failed and the mobs did not deter, the security personnel opened fire at the protestors.
Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Tezpur, and Dhekiajuli were under curfew, while Jorhat, Golaghat, Tinsukia, and Charaideo districts were under night curfew. However, the curfew didn’t stop the angry protestors from swarming the streets. An army of five columns, comprised of 350 personnel, was also deployed in Guwahati, Tinsukia, Jorhat, and Dibrugarh.
The protestors received support from AASU, a student’s organisation, and KMSS, a peasant’s organisation, and continued the protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019, despite the lockdown.
The police said they opened fire on the protestors who defied the curfew in Lalung Gaon are in Guwahati, Assam after the protestors started hurling the stones at the policemen. The protestors claimed that at least four people were injured when the police opened fire.
The employees of Gauhati Medical College stated, “Four people were brought to the hospital, and their condition was critical.”
The government, on Thursday, also extended the suspension of internet services in ten districts for another 48 hours.
BJP offices in Guwahati, RSS office in Chabua, and houses of several BJP MLAs, were attacked. The residence of Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal, was also attacked by the protestors.
RSS offices in Amolapatty in Golaghat, Dibrugarh, and Sadiya were also destroyed along with an attack on the RSS office in Tezpur.
The residences of handloom minister Ranjit Dutta at Behali and Union Food Processing Industries Minister Rameswar Teli were targeted by the protestors and pelted with stones. The house of BJP MLA Binod Hazarika was torched in Chabua, and the house of BJP MLA Padam Hazarika was attacked. The protestors also pelted DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta in Guwahati.
A senior police official also claimed that several protestors were injured across Assam. The protestors continued to be restless in Dibrugarh. The police shot rubber bullets to ‘control’ the situation in Rangia town.
The latter also allegedly damaged the property of the headquarters of Asom Gana Parishad, in Ambari. A total shutdown of offices, schools, and colleges was witnessed in Kamrup district, and highways were blocked.
Several flights and trains to Assam have also been cancelled. More protests have broken out in several cities in India, including Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru Hyderabad, and Jaipur, after the passing of what is being described as an unconstitutional Citizenship (Amendment) Bill; that denies citizenship to Muslim refugees while granting the same to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jains, Parsis, and Christian coming from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.
Amidst the protests, the Citizenship Bill got the President’s nod on 11th December.