Protesters burn North East as Citizenship Bill gets cleared in Parliament
Guwahati : An indefinite curfew has been imposed in the North Eastern states of India with a suspension of mobile services in 10 districts of Assam as reports of people getting violent on the streets, burning effigies and public properties started pouring in to oppose the passage of Citizenship Bill in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Such a violent protest has been seen in the North Eastern region for the first time since 1985 when the violent six-year movement by students was ended with an Assam accord.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal also faced the wrath and remained stuck at the airport amid massive protest against the passage of the bill. The mandate came with 125 voting for it and 99 against.
Police fired blank shots, tear gas shells and lathi-charged protesters, a majority of them students, in different parts of Guwahati, Assam biggest city, as several thousand demonstrators attempted to barge past security barriers to converge on the adjoining state capital Dispur. According to student leaders, many protesters were injured in police action in front of the secretariat. Several vehicles were set on fire.
All senior civil and police officials were incommunicado but, according to unofficial accounts, hundreds of protesters have been detained in Guwahati and other places like Dibrugarh and Jorhat, news agency PTI reported.
The controversial legislation was cleared by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday with the support of as many as 334 MPs.
While the bill was tabled in both the houses by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, it was strongly opposed by the Opposition with claims that it is discrimination towards the Muslim community. Opposition leaders, who claim that the bill can never survive "judicial scrutiny", are expected to challenge it in the Supreme Court.