Two people were killed and five injured when police opened fire on protesters near Hatigaon police station. 500 people who were moving towards Ganeshguri from Hatigaon Sewali area were stopped by the police in front of the Hatigaon High School. The police and army then allegedly opened fire at the people near the Hatigaon police station even after the crowd had dispersed.
Another youth, Dipanjal Das, from Kamrup, who had been injured due to police firing in Lachit Nagar, Guwahati was declared brought dead by doctors at the Guwahati Medical Hospital. Currently there is heavy police firing going on at the Rotary Club in Guwahati.
Five people were injured in Lalung Gaon due to police firing. People also allegedly faced police brutality at demonstrations held outside Janata Bhawan in Guwahati. Lathi charge and heavy police firing prevailed in Bimalapur in Sonari and Basistha, Ganeshguri and Lal Mati among other places in the state.
Protestors defy prohibitory orders
In Biswanath where thousands of protestors had gathered at the call of the All Assam Student’s Union (AASU), police allegedly opened fire. AASU leaders like Dadul Borkotoky, Bikram Bikash Bora apart from other AASU workers were injured seriously. This gathering, called by AASU, the artists in Assam, educationalists and intellectuals from other arenas at the Latasil playground, saw more than 50,000 members of civil society come together to defy the curfew and get the government to revoke the CAB 2019.
An unprecedented agitation took place in the streets of Hangerabari with the police resorting to heavy firing. Samujjal Bhattacharya, a longtime advisor to AASU delivered a firebrand lecture amidst this chaos. He said, “Some people are alleging whether we are anti-Bengali or anti-Muslim. We are not anti-Bengali or anti-Muslim. We are anti-Bangladeshi. A few days back Honorable Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had asked, “What will you get by this agitation?” We call on the CM, he must know that he had become the CM by this movement and he has betrayed the people of Assam now. But the commitment of our movement is still with us and we will not accept the CAB which is a coffin for the Assamese people and until or unless the CAB is withdrawn, the agitation will go on.”
Zubeen Garg, a popular singer and another convener at this mass meeting said, “We condemn the BJP and the state and union government for their betrayal to the Assamese people. Everyone should be alert and the agitation must be peaceful and non-violent.” He added that the non-violent protest would go on until the CAB is withdrawn.
The people gathered at the Latasil playground moved to the office of the Axom Gana Parishad (AGP) at around 4 PM on Thursday and were met with lathi charge by the police. Reports had come in earlier that the AGP office was under heavy security as the mob was trying to burn it down in wake of the protest.
Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, the Deputy General of Police told the media, “We have nothing to say against peaceful protests. But law and order must be maintained. If someone violates law and order, the police will take strongest action. The agitators must know that violation of law and order will push them to danger.”
Protesters rage against parties, politicians and police
In Chabua, the Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s home constituency, thousands of people came out to protest CAB and the house of the BJP MLA from Chabua was burnt down by agitators. The residence of Santanu Bharali, legal advisor to the CM, was also attacked by protestors at 2:30 PM in Guwahati. The BJP flags at his residence were torn down by the huge number of agitators.
The residence of Dibrugarh MLA Prasanta Phukan was also ransacked by protestors. Thousands of protestors used tear gas, resorted to lathi charge and opened fire at protestors in Sootea, Sonitpur as they gathered at the residence of a BJP MLA.
A police van was attacked by agitators in Tezpur and a gypsy was attacked in front of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) office in the city. The RSS office has also been burned down by the protestors in Dibrugarh. The BJP office in Bongaigon had been ransacked and people tried to block the national highway in Rangia. In West Darrang more than 10,000 people including students came out against CAB and in Tihu and Patshala, BJP and AGP offices had been torched by the protestors. In Morongi, Golaghat police opened fire at the agitators and in Sonari. Protesters surrounded BJP MP Tapan Gogoi’s residence and were pushed back by the police.
Reshuffles, resignations and transfers
GP Singh who had been deputed in Assam to control the circumstances, has now ordered the transfer of four Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs) on the orders of the government for being unable to handle the situation. Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar has been ousted from his post and Munna Prasad Gupta has been appointed as the new Commissioner of Police, Guwahati. Four Deputy Generals of Police (DGPs) have been transferred from their posts citing inefficiency.
Jatin Bora, popular actor and former BJP leader resigned from his post of Chairman at the state-run Assam State Film Finance Development Corporation. He said that it was only the love and affection of the people which had gotten him to the position he was at and that he couldn’t betray the people. At a meeting at the Latasil playground he said, “We can’t accept the CAB at any cost.”
Former minister and one of the founders of the AGP, Brindaban Goswami has resigned from the political affairs committee of the AGP. He has demanded that the party take a stand against the CAB. The Guwahati city committee of the AGP also demanded that Deputy President Atul Bora and Working President Keshab Mahanta and senior member Phani Bhushan Chaudhary must be expelled from the AGP, until which the campaign against them and CAB will go on.
Sonowal government fails to control situation
The government is failing miserably in their attempts to put out the flames of unrest in Assam in wake of passing of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019 in Rajya Sabha yesterday. A curfew was imposed in Guwahati and Dibrugarh and internet services have been shut down in ten districts for the next 48 hours.
Many flights have been cancelled hundreds of passengers have been stranded at Guwahati airport with no mode of transport to take them to their destination. All local train services have been suspended. School and educational institutions have been closed for three days.
The Army has been brought in to maintain the law and order situation. A meeting of the Unified Command has been held to deliberate over matters and it is understood that the Army will take over complete responsibility of the state of affairs.
Addressing the deadlock, the CM told the media, “The rights of the Assamese people will not be submerged by the CAB. The government of Assam and India is committed to implement the 6th clause of the Assam agreement. The protection of the Assamese people, culture and language will be properly maintained by implemented the Clause 6 of the Assam agreement.” The Clause 6 reads, “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.”
However, with the current situation prevailing in Assam, the words of the CM do not seem to be placating their anger. His house has been attacked on again and ransacked by the agitators.
A curfew has been imposed in Jorhat and Tinsuka starting 5 pm today. The state government has appealed the protestors to allow oxygen carrying vehicles to move freely in the state as hospitals are now facing a shortage of oxygen.
A mass hunger strike has been organized at Chandmari fields starting 6 AM by AASU and the artists’ association to further their protest against the CAB.
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