After the Rajya Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB), protests have intensified in Assam. Thousands of people defied curfew and gathered at the Latasil ground in Guwahati to attend a public meeting by the All Assam Students Union (AASU). It is noteworthy that AASU had played a key role during the original Assam movement that had led to the signing of the Assam Accord in 1985.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted, “I want to assure my brothers and sisters of Assam that they have nothing to worry after the passing of #CAB. I want to assure them- no one can take away your rights, unique identity and beautiful culture. It will continue to flourish and grow.” He added, “The Central Government and I are totally committed to constitutionally safeguard the political, linguistic, cultural and land rights of the Assamese people as per the spirit of Clause 6.”
But Modi’s assurances did not reach the people of Assam as suspension of internet services was extended for another 48 hours in Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Kamrup (Metro) and Kamrup.
In wake of attacks on the offices of the BJP, RSS and AGP as well as homes of several key ministers including Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma, Guwahati Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar was removed by the Assam government and replaced with Munna Prasad Gupta who was previously posted with the Special Protection Group.
Meanwhile 13 flights were cancelled at Guwahati airport. 178 people were left stranded at Dhibrugarh airport were brought to Guwahati on an IndiGo flight. Additionally, IndiGo has issued a travel advisory saying, “Due to the ongoing unrest situation in #Assam, we’re offering rescheduling/cancellation fee waiver (fare difference, if any, is applicable) to the passengers travelling to/from Guwahati, Dibrugarh and Jorhat till 13th Dec, 2019. Stay safe.” Vistara too made special provisions stating, “Due to the ongoing unrest in Assam, we are waiving rescheduling/cancellation fee to the customers travelling to and from Guwahati and Dibrugarh till Dec 13, 2019. Fare difference if any, will be applicable. Thank you.” GoAir has also issued statement saying, “Due to the ongoing unrest situation in #Assam, we’re offering fee waiver on cancellation/rescheduling (fare difference, if any,will be applicable) to our customers flying to/from #GAU till 13th Dec’19.”
Meanwhile large-scale troop mobilization is taking place in the region. Not only have troops been diverted from Kashmir to Assam, several columns of Assam Rifles have been deployed next door in Tripura. Nagaland has issued a travel advisory asking people to avoid travelling via Assam.