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Protests intensify in Assam, prominent BJP leaders resign, ULFA declares fight against CAB

14 Dec 2019

Cab

14th Dec: Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019 now Citizens Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 is growing stronger with each passing day, all around the nation and more so, in the northeastern states. Even though people in major cities like Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Shillong have been living under curfews that last more than twelve hours each day, it hasn’t stopped people from mobilising and staging protests in different corners of their respective states. Though civilians have reported 'anti-social elements' trying to jeopardize the collective ethos of people, the protests, where a large part of the civil society assemble on a day to day basis, have been principally nonviolent and averse to the idea of destruction of public property. 

In Jorhat and Lakhimpur, All Assam Nationalist group in association with Assam Sahitya Sabha, lawyers' association and the Artists' Association will be meeting near their respective Deputy Commissioners' offices, to talk about CAB/CAA and the way forward.

Under the leadership of acclaimed literary critic, Dr. Hiren Gohain, the Left Democratic Manch, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti and Assam Nagarik Manch is staging a protest in Guwahati today. 

Dr. Gohain has also declared that he is fighting alongside the Citizenship Amendment Act Virodhi Manch in filing a petition against CAB/CAA in the Supreme Court. 

Former chief minister of Assam, Tarun Gogoi has also spoken about moving the Supreme Court. It is being said that the Ex- finance minister, P Chidambaram will be representing his petition. 

In another shocking turn of events, Town Committee Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Sabua, hometown of the current CM of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal, have resigned in protest. Both of them are prominent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members. This news comes just a day after Assamese superstar Jatin Bora, who is also the chairman of the state's Film Finance Development Corporation, resigned from the BJP. 

Meanwhile, United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) has declared to stage a massive protest against CAB/CAA 2019. We are getting reports that the leader of ULFA, Jiten Dutta has been put under house arrest and major security forces have been deployed to his hometown, Borbil. Earlier, Paresh Baruah, the chief of the banned outfit had appealed to the people of Assam to end violence and solve the issue in a “democratic manner”.

Protests intensify in Assam, prominent BJP leaders resign, ULFA declares fight against CAB

Cab

14th Dec: Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019 now Citizens Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 is growing stronger with each passing day, all around the nation and more so, in the northeastern states. Even though people in major cities like Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Shillong have been living under curfews that last more than twelve hours each day, it hasn’t stopped people from mobilising and staging protests in different corners of their respective states. Though civilians have reported 'anti-social elements' trying to jeopardize the collective ethos of people, the protests, where a large part of the civil society assemble on a day to day basis, have been principally nonviolent and averse to the idea of destruction of public property. 

In Jorhat and Lakhimpur, All Assam Nationalist group in association with Assam Sahitya Sabha, lawyers' association and the Artists' Association will be meeting near their respective Deputy Commissioners' offices, to talk about CAB/CAA and the way forward.

Under the leadership of acclaimed literary critic, Dr. Hiren Gohain, the Left Democratic Manch, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti and Assam Nagarik Manch is staging a protest in Guwahati today. 

Dr. Gohain has also declared that he is fighting alongside the Citizenship Amendment Act Virodhi Manch in filing a petition against CAB/CAA in the Supreme Court. 

Former chief minister of Assam, Tarun Gogoi has also spoken about moving the Supreme Court. It is being said that the Ex- finance minister, P Chidambaram will be representing his petition. 

In another shocking turn of events, Town Committee Chairman and Vice-Chairman of Sabua, hometown of the current CM of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal, have resigned in protest. Both of them are prominent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members. This news comes just a day after Assamese superstar Jatin Bora, who is also the chairman of the state's Film Finance Development Corporation, resigned from the BJP. 

Meanwhile, United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) has declared to stage a massive protest against CAB/CAA 2019. We are getting reports that the leader of ULFA, Jiten Dutta has been put under house arrest and major security forces have been deployed to his hometown, Borbil. Earlier, Paresh Baruah, the chief of the banned outfit had appealed to the people of Assam to end violence and solve the issue in a “democratic manner”.

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Preparation for a genocide under way in India: Dr. Gregory Stanton

Internationally acclaimed expert raises concerns about possible mass extermination of Muslims while briefing US Congress on situation in Kashmir and Assam.

14 Dec 2019

Dr. Gregory Stanton, founder of Genocide Watch

Dr. Gregory Stanton, founder of Genocide Watch, addressed an audience of Congressional and Government officials at a briefing titled Ground Reports on Kashmir and NRC in Washington D.C on December 12 where he said, “Preparation for a genocide is definitely under way in India. He said that persecution of Muslims in Assam and Kashmir “is the stage just before genocide, adding, “The next stage is extermination — that’s what we call a genocide.”

Dr. Stanton created the world-famous “Ten Stages of Genocide” as a presentation to the U.S. Department of State when he worked there in 1996. According to Dr. Stanton, the ten stages of genocide are as follows:

  • The first stage was “classification” of “us versus them”.

  • The second stage, “symbolization”, named the victims as “foreigner”.

  • The third stage, “discrimination”, “classified [the victims] out of the group accepted for citizenship” so that they had no “human rights or civil rights of citizens” and were “discriminated against legally”.

  • The fourth stage, dehumanization, “is when the genocidal spiral begins to go downwards. You classify the others as somehow worse than you. You give them names like ‘terrorists’, or even names of animals, start referring to them as a cancer in the body politic, you talk about them as a disease that must be somehow dealt with.”

  • The fifth stage was creating an “organization” to commit the genocide: the role played by the “Indian army in Kashmir and the census takers in Assam”.

  • The sixth stage was “polarization”, which is achieved by propaganda.

  • The seventh stage was “preparation”

  •  The eighth “persecution”, where Assam and Kashmir currently were.

  • The ninth stage is “extermination” and;

  • The tenth stage is “denial”.

Dr. Stanton also drafted UN Security Council resolutions that created the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda and the Burundi Commission of Inquiry, two places where genocides had occurred. A former President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, his research on genocides in Cambodia and Rwanda, and of the Rohingyas, is recognized worldwide.

CJP secretary and Human Rights Defender Teesta Setalvad also addressed the audience via video conferencing and said that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was “being used to subvert human rights in Assam. There are laid down guidelines and standard operating procedures to carry out this exercise but none of it is being followed. We have to ask if this exercise is being carried out within the ambit of the constitution.”

Setalvad also criticised the Citizenship Amendment Act saying it would “bring untold suffering to people across the country. It will damage, fundamentally and irreparably, the nature of the Indian republic. This is why they, and all citizens of conscience, demand that the government not betray the constitution.

Also participating in the Briefing via video link, Dr. Angana Chatterji, a scholar with UC Berkeley, slammed the crackdown in Kashmir since the Indian government revoked the Constitutionally mandated special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5. She shared that reports have documented the “inhumane treatment and torture of children, the elderly, and women; illegal detentions, including mass detentions; the denial of the basic needs of life, the curtailment of freedom of speech and movement, the falsification of social facts and their amplification by the state, and the closure of sacred places,” she said. “Cries of pain” of a torture victim were broadcast via a mosque’s speaker system. “State forces have raided homes, destroyed property and mixed food with kerosene, said Dr. Chatterji.

Raqib Hameed Naik, a journalist from Jammu and Kashmir said the ongoing lock-down in Kashmir was “one of the worst sieges in the last decade… Officially there are no restrictions, but unofficially the government has imposed an undeclared emergency.” Naik also disputed the Indian government’s claim that Indian troops had not killed any Kashmiris since August 5 when the state’s special status was withdrawn.

“Let me put it on record that, so far, we have been able to document five killings by security forces. The number could be higher, but due to communication blockade and severe restrictions on the movement of the press, we have not been able to get exact figures from the different parts of the valley.” Naik said he had met with “many minors” who were imprisoned “without charges”. 

The Congressional briefing was organized by three U.S.-based civil society organizations, namely, the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Emgage Action, and Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR).


Related:

Hostels become detention camps: Army lays siege at colleges in Assam
Police lathi-charge students at Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in Delhi
3 killed in anti-CAB protests in Assam

Preparation for a genocide under way in India: Dr. Gregory Stanton

Internationally acclaimed expert raises concerns about possible mass extermination of Muslims while briefing US Congress on situation in Kashmir and Assam.

Dr. Gregory Stanton, founder of Genocide Watch

Dr. Gregory Stanton, founder of Genocide Watch, addressed an audience of Congressional and Government officials at a briefing titled Ground Reports on Kashmir and NRC in Washington D.C on December 12 where he said, “Preparation for a genocide is definitely under way in India. He said that persecution of Muslims in Assam and Kashmir “is the stage just before genocide, adding, “The next stage is extermination — that’s what we call a genocide.”

Dr. Stanton created the world-famous “Ten Stages of Genocide” as a presentation to the U.S. Department of State when he worked there in 1996. According to Dr. Stanton, the ten stages of genocide are as follows:

  • The first stage was “classification” of “us versus them”.

  • The second stage, “symbolization”, named the victims as “foreigner”.

  • The third stage, “discrimination”, “classified [the victims] out of the group accepted for citizenship” so that they had no “human rights or civil rights of citizens” and were “discriminated against legally”.

  • The fourth stage, dehumanization, “is when the genocidal spiral begins to go downwards. You classify the others as somehow worse than you. You give them names like ‘terrorists’, or even names of animals, start referring to them as a cancer in the body politic, you talk about them as a disease that must be somehow dealt with.”

  • The fifth stage was creating an “organization” to commit the genocide: the role played by the “Indian army in Kashmir and the census takers in Assam”.

  • The sixth stage was “polarization”, which is achieved by propaganda.

  • The seventh stage was “preparation”

  •  The eighth “persecution”, where Assam and Kashmir currently were.

  • The ninth stage is “extermination” and;

  • The tenth stage is “denial”.

Dr. Stanton also drafted UN Security Council resolutions that created the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda and the Burundi Commission of Inquiry, two places where genocides had occurred. A former President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, his research on genocides in Cambodia and Rwanda, and of the Rohingyas, is recognized worldwide.

CJP secretary and Human Rights Defender Teesta Setalvad also addressed the audience via video conferencing and said that the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam was “being used to subvert human rights in Assam. There are laid down guidelines and standard operating procedures to carry out this exercise but none of it is being followed. We have to ask if this exercise is being carried out within the ambit of the constitution.”

Setalvad also criticised the Citizenship Amendment Act saying it would “bring untold suffering to people across the country. It will damage, fundamentally and irreparably, the nature of the Indian republic. This is why they, and all citizens of conscience, demand that the government not betray the constitution.

Also participating in the Briefing via video link, Dr. Angana Chatterji, a scholar with UC Berkeley, slammed the crackdown in Kashmir since the Indian government revoked the Constitutionally mandated special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5. She shared that reports have documented the “inhumane treatment and torture of children, the elderly, and women; illegal detentions, including mass detentions; the denial of the basic needs of life, the curtailment of freedom of speech and movement, the falsification of social facts and their amplification by the state, and the closure of sacred places,” she said. “Cries of pain” of a torture victim were broadcast via a mosque’s speaker system. “State forces have raided homes, destroyed property and mixed food with kerosene, said Dr. Chatterji.

Raqib Hameed Naik, a journalist from Jammu and Kashmir said the ongoing lock-down in Kashmir was “one of the worst sieges in the last decade… Officially there are no restrictions, but unofficially the government has imposed an undeclared emergency.” Naik also disputed the Indian government’s claim that Indian troops had not killed any Kashmiris since August 5 when the state’s special status was withdrawn.

“Let me put it on record that, so far, we have been able to document five killings by security forces. The number could be higher, but due to communication blockade and severe restrictions on the movement of the press, we have not been able to get exact figures from the different parts of the valley.” Naik said he had met with “many minors” who were imprisoned “without charges”. 

The Congressional briefing was organized by three U.S.-based civil society organizations, namely, the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), Emgage Action, and Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR).


Related:

Hostels become detention camps: Army lays siege at colleges in Assam
Police lathi-charge students at Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in Delhi
3 killed in anti-CAB protests in Assam

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BJP members resign from their posts; oppose CAA 2019

Police brutality still on as they open fire at peaceful protestors in many places

14 Dec 2019

Jagadesh Bhuyan resigned

For the fourth consecutive day Assam has been embroiled in protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Adjacent areas like the state of Meghalaya and Tripura too face a similar situation under curfews and a communication shutdown.
 

Resignations by the dozen at BJP

The BJP has received a massive setback in the state as Executive member of BJP Assam Pradesh and Chairman of Assam Petrochemical Ltd Jagadesh Bhuyan resigned from both his posts supporting the protests against CAB. He said that the bill was against the people of Assam and that he would support them in their protest against the same.

Two Zilla Parishad Members from the home constituency of CM Sarbananda Sonowal in Majuli have resigned from the BJP.

The President of the Gaon Panchayat including other members have resigned from the BJP with more resignations coming in from the members in lower posts.


Protests still raging against CAA

With the shutdown of Assam, public services have come to a halt. Local trains have been disrupted and long distance trains have been cancelled or rescheduled. There is a scarcity of oxygen at hospitals like the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) and Medical Council of Assam (MCA). The exams to be held across universities in the state have been postponed indefinitely.

In Guwahati, the mass hunger by AASU and the artists association saw a crowd of 50,000 people joining in. They have decided to hold a ‘Public Disobedience Programme’ from December 15 – 17. They have also decided to not hold any public meetings after 5 PM given the security situation in the state.

Golaghat, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Lakhimpur, Nalbari, Nagaon, Kamrup, Morigaon and Barpeta including many other districts saw a large number of protests.

Today, State BJP President Ranjit Kumar Das’ residence was ransacked in Assam.

In Melapara in Khunti Assembly Constituency, the police allegedly opened fire at peaceful protestors to instigate and intimidate them. Chandmari flyover, where protests were gaining momentum too, the police allegedly opened fire at protestors who then allegedly retaliated by setting a police van on fire. Protestors in Udalguri district too were shot at by the police.

All of the above incidents where police has resorted to shooting have been unprovoked.

The Congress staged a protest against CAB at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Present at the protest, Leader of the Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly Debabrata Saikia called upon the Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami to hold a special session to discuss CAB and its implications on Assam.

The rally also saw the attendance of State Congress President Ripun Bora and Congress MP Khalek and many others. In the meanwhile, some members of the Congress Legislative Party met with the Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami raising that demand that CAB be revoked.

In the wake of police brutality against protestors and reports coming in about Hindutva outfits and extremist elements stoking the communal element and the tactics of repeating the clampdown in Kashmir in Assam, people are seeing through the tactics of the BJP.

Top order reshuffles and transfers have taken place, CM Sonowal is being looked at as inefficient in controlling the matter and people who have seen the death of anywhere between three to five co-agitators are not willing to let BJP get away with the CAB.


Related:
Japan PM cancels Guwahati trip
3 killed in anti-CAB protests in Assam
Massive Protests against CAB in Aligarh

Assam engulfed in smoke as protests rage on
Anti- CAB protest continues in Assam, Quick Response Team called in Dibrugarh
Students injured, army called in as anti-CAB stir intensifies in Assam
48-hr Mobile Internet Ban as NE boils Over Citizenship Amendment Bill: Tripura

BJP members resign from their posts; oppose CAA 2019

Police brutality still on as they open fire at peaceful protestors in many places

Jagadesh Bhuyan resigned

For the fourth consecutive day Assam has been embroiled in protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Adjacent areas like the state of Meghalaya and Tripura too face a similar situation under curfews and a communication shutdown.
 

Resignations by the dozen at BJP

The BJP has received a massive setback in the state as Executive member of BJP Assam Pradesh and Chairman of Assam Petrochemical Ltd Jagadesh Bhuyan resigned from both his posts supporting the protests against CAB. He said that the bill was against the people of Assam and that he would support them in their protest against the same.

Two Zilla Parishad Members from the home constituency of CM Sarbananda Sonowal in Majuli have resigned from the BJP.

The President of the Gaon Panchayat including other members have resigned from the BJP with more resignations coming in from the members in lower posts.


Protests still raging against CAA

With the shutdown of Assam, public services have come to a halt. Local trains have been disrupted and long distance trains have been cancelled or rescheduled. There is a scarcity of oxygen at hospitals like the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) and Medical Council of Assam (MCA). The exams to be held across universities in the state have been postponed indefinitely.

In Guwahati, the mass hunger by AASU and the artists association saw a crowd of 50,000 people joining in. They have decided to hold a ‘Public Disobedience Programme’ from December 15 – 17. They have also decided to not hold any public meetings after 5 PM given the security situation in the state.

Golaghat, Jorhat, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Lakhimpur, Nalbari, Nagaon, Kamrup, Morigaon and Barpeta including many other districts saw a large number of protests.

Today, State BJP President Ranjit Kumar Das’ residence was ransacked in Assam.

In Melapara in Khunti Assembly Constituency, the police allegedly opened fire at peaceful protestors to instigate and intimidate them. Chandmari flyover, where protests were gaining momentum too, the police allegedly opened fire at protestors who then allegedly retaliated by setting a police van on fire. Protestors in Udalguri district too were shot at by the police.

All of the above incidents where police has resorted to shooting have been unprovoked.

The Congress staged a protest against CAB at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Present at the protest, Leader of the Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly Debabrata Saikia called upon the Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami to hold a special session to discuss CAB and its implications on Assam.

The rally also saw the attendance of State Congress President Ripun Bora and Congress MP Khalek and many others. In the meanwhile, some members of the Congress Legislative Party met with the Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami raising that demand that CAB be revoked.

In the wake of police brutality against protestors and reports coming in about Hindutva outfits and extremist elements stoking the communal element and the tactics of repeating the clampdown in Kashmir in Assam, people are seeing through the tactics of the BJP.

Top order reshuffles and transfers have taken place, CM Sonowal is being looked at as inefficient in controlling the matter and people who have seen the death of anywhere between three to five co-agitators are not willing to let BJP get away with the CAB.


Related:
Japan PM cancels Guwahati trip
3 killed in anti-CAB protests in Assam
Massive Protests against CAB in Aligarh

Assam engulfed in smoke as protests rage on
Anti- CAB protest continues in Assam, Quick Response Team called in Dibrugarh
Students injured, army called in as anti-CAB stir intensifies in Assam
48-hr Mobile Internet Ban as NE boils Over Citizenship Amendment Bill: Tripura

Related Articles


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Hostels become detention camps: Army lays siege at colleges in Assam

The people of Assam are being stripped off their human rights, one bullet at a time.

14 Dec 2019

Assam

Assam is boiling over the Citizenship Amendment Act and the fire has started to spread to other states in the northeast, with curfews already put up in Tripura and Meghalaya.

As protests intensified after the bill got Presidential assent and became law, the Army conducted flag marches and police resorted to indiscriminate firing killing three people. The government cut-off the internet and SMS services, apart from threatening media outlets from showing the reality of the situation. Water and electricity connections have been cut off. But the government has now started painting the same picture in Assam that they did in Kashmir – Everything is normal.

The situation has now turned into a massive example of human rights violation with the atrocities inflicted on the people of Assam.
 

Mental and physical torture

On December 12, 2019, the paramilitary forces laid siege to the Cotton University hostel, Guwahati University and Assam Engineering College hostels in Guwahati, and imprisoning students in the premises. The girls are facing health and hygiene issues but have nowhere to go because the Army has locked them up indefinitely. There have been verbal accounts by locals in Tezpur saying that the Army has exercised its power against women, dragging them by their hair portraying their sheer brutality.

A voice note of a student accessed by Sabrang India shows the horror in her voice. She says that the Army and police have donned a civil dress to attack the protestors so that they cannot be identified. Though there are only peaceful protests taking place, the police are allegedly entering the hostels and brutally harassing students. She says there’s a third party involved in this and that the situation is very tense at the moment.

Women protestors peacefully marching towards Jorhat MP Tapan Gogoi’s residence were also allegedly harassed and obstructed by the male police. Two days ago, there were no women policemen deployed to look after the safety of the female protestors.

In Cotton University - which is the main hub of the uprising in Assam that is now being led by the students and other universities, the Army is allegedly inhumanely forcing girls to abandon their protest and go home. The Army is also allegedly entering the houses of civilians illegally, taking away young men and women from their homes and arbitrarily beating them up.

The paramilitary forces have also vandalized the media houses of Prag News and Pratidin Times and beat up journalists asking them to toe the line with the government’s directives to not telecast the protests on their channels. However, media outlets like the Guwahati Times are still pursuing their duties fearlessly and getting out information to the public.

 

Police drag away female protestor, while her child tries to stop them.


Tracking people down

The BJP IT cell is also working hard at deleting videos of police and Army brutality put up students and locals outside of Assam or by TV channels. They are also resorting to intimidation by monitoring all the posts about the protests being shared. An Assamese local studying in Mumbai who commented on a post about CM Sarbananda Sonowal alleged that she got threatening calls by a man at 1 AM where he said that the authorities would shoot the protestors and then bring in people from the ‘outside’. He threatened her saying that one day she would also return to Assam and when she did, he would make sure she face the consequences.

Actor and film-maker Monuj Borokotoky told Sabrang India that a lawyer from Delhi warned him against replying to those who were opposing the protest as all of them belong to the IT Cell of the BJP. Monuj, who was constantly being tagged by the IT cell in posts against the agitation, was told to block them because it was their intention to track protestors and harass them.


The poison of communal polarization

A student recounted how her Muslim friends have started to feel unsafe after the communal divide angle has been put into the protest. She recalls her friends telling her that people who used to visit their homes regularly, have suddenly started viewing them as ‘illegal immigrants’.

Farooq, a volunteer working with CJP India reported heinous violence against Muslim labourers in Dibrugarh. The workers employed for labour at the Dhamal railway station and a college in Assam, were first made to kneel and were then beaten up badly by some goons who were trying to insinuate violence against the minorities and give the protest a communal spin. They were also asked to sing the state anthem of Assam and were thrashed for not being able to do so. Farooq ran from pillar to post to help them out, the police even came to rescue them at the behest of the contractor who had employed them, but the goons attacked them again. The police fled and the labourers at the railway station ran to an outpost where they are still staying in fear for their lives. They haven’t had anything to eat or drink since yesterday morning. Three of the men injured in the firing at the college are recuperating at a hospital, while the others are waiting to be rescued to safety.

At first, these goons were thought to be members of the AASU, but according to sources by locals, the goons belonged to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This proves to be just another tactic of the government – misleading the whole movement, trying to say that the Assamese are against the Hindu-Bengalis or the Muslims, something that is far from true.

Sources report that everywhere in the state where the protests have turned violent, it is either the police itself or radical elements not affiliated to any student groups that are creating unwanted and unprovoked chaos to portray a vicious picture of the students who are protesting peacefully.

The democratic right of the people to protest is being trampled upon, with the Army obstructing peaceful protests and creating chaos to terrorize the public.

Violence is being fomented by the authorities themselves and Assam is witnessing a war-like situation with the authorities targeting the youth, the backbone of the state.

The government, especially the BJP government represented by CM Sarbananda Sonowal is denying the discord and displeasure of the Assamese people branding their fears as rumours. The government is now telling that Assamese that only the ones left out of the NRC, the Hindus, will get citizenship and the others will be sent back. Where they will be sent back and who will take them, no one knows.

BJP Assam Senior Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has reduced matters to mockery by undermining the protests and is now allegedly eyeing to grab the CM’s post for himself. An FIR was filed against him by the students of Cotton University for allegedly shouting ‘Jai Bangladesh’ at the Assam legislative assembly premises earlier this month.

While only three people are reported to have lost their lives, the unofficial number has touched twenty five. The complete number of injured persons is unknown.

Assam has been in turmoil for four straight days with protests burgeoning in intensity. The extremists have tried to give the agitation a communal spin and represent the youth to be violent elements shattering the peace of Assam. There is no count of the number of human rights violations with crimes against women, arbitrary firing by the authorities, quashing the democratic right to protest, attacking the media, shutting communication services, daily necessities being out of reach and the situations for the injured getting worse by the minute.

Police brutality is gaining momentum with the support of the authorities in power. First Kashmir, then JNU, and now Assam. Who will be next?


Related:

3 killed in anti-CAB protests in Assam
Japan PM cancels Guwahati trip
Massive Protests against CAB in Aligarh

Assam engulfed in smoke as protests rage on
Anti- CAB protest continues in Assam, Quick Response Team called in Dibrugarh
Students injured, army called in as anti-CAB stir intensifies in Assam
48-hr Mobile Internet Ban as NE boils Over Citizenship Amendment Bill: Tripura

Hostels become detention camps: Army lays siege at colleges in Assam

The people of Assam are being stripped off their human rights, one bullet at a time.

Assam

Assam is boiling over the Citizenship Amendment Act and the fire has started to spread to other states in the northeast, with curfews already put up in Tripura and Meghalaya.

As protests intensified after the bill got Presidential assent and became law, the Army conducted flag marches and police resorted to indiscriminate firing killing three people. The government cut-off the internet and SMS services, apart from threatening media outlets from showing the reality of the situation. Water and electricity connections have been cut off. But the government has now started painting the same picture in Assam that they did in Kashmir – Everything is normal.

The situation has now turned into a massive example of human rights violation with the atrocities inflicted on the people of Assam.
 

Mental and physical torture

On December 12, 2019, the paramilitary forces laid siege to the Cotton University hostel, Guwahati University and Assam Engineering College hostels in Guwahati, and imprisoning students in the premises. The girls are facing health and hygiene issues but have nowhere to go because the Army has locked them up indefinitely. There have been verbal accounts by locals in Tezpur saying that the Army has exercised its power against women, dragging them by their hair portraying their sheer brutality.

A voice note of a student accessed by Sabrang India shows the horror in her voice. She says that the Army and police have donned a civil dress to attack the protestors so that they cannot be identified. Though there are only peaceful protests taking place, the police are allegedly entering the hostels and brutally harassing students. She says there’s a third party involved in this and that the situation is very tense at the moment.

Women protestors peacefully marching towards Jorhat MP Tapan Gogoi’s residence were also allegedly harassed and obstructed by the male police. Two days ago, there were no women policemen deployed to look after the safety of the female protestors.

In Cotton University - which is the main hub of the uprising in Assam that is now being led by the students and other universities, the Army is allegedly inhumanely forcing girls to abandon their protest and go home. The Army is also allegedly entering the houses of civilians illegally, taking away young men and women from their homes and arbitrarily beating them up.

The paramilitary forces have also vandalized the media houses of Prag News and Pratidin Times and beat up journalists asking them to toe the line with the government’s directives to not telecast the protests on their channels. However, media outlets like the Guwahati Times are still pursuing their duties fearlessly and getting out information to the public.

 

Police drag away female protestor, while her child tries to stop them.


Tracking people down

The BJP IT cell is also working hard at deleting videos of police and Army brutality put up students and locals outside of Assam or by TV channels. They are also resorting to intimidation by monitoring all the posts about the protests being shared. An Assamese local studying in Mumbai who commented on a post about CM Sarbananda Sonowal alleged that she got threatening calls by a man at 1 AM where he said that the authorities would shoot the protestors and then bring in people from the ‘outside’. He threatened her saying that one day she would also return to Assam and when she did, he would make sure she face the consequences.

Actor and film-maker Monuj Borokotoky told Sabrang India that a lawyer from Delhi warned him against replying to those who were opposing the protest as all of them belong to the IT Cell of the BJP. Monuj, who was constantly being tagged by the IT cell in posts against the agitation, was told to block them because it was their intention to track protestors and harass them.


The poison of communal polarization

A student recounted how her Muslim friends have started to feel unsafe after the communal divide angle has been put into the protest. She recalls her friends telling her that people who used to visit their homes regularly, have suddenly started viewing them as ‘illegal immigrants’.

Farooq, a volunteer working with CJP India reported heinous violence against Muslim labourers in Dibrugarh. The workers employed for labour at the Dhamal railway station and a college in Assam, were first made to kneel and were then beaten up badly by some goons who were trying to insinuate violence against the minorities and give the protest a communal spin. They were also asked to sing the state anthem of Assam and were thrashed for not being able to do so. Farooq ran from pillar to post to help them out, the police even came to rescue them at the behest of the contractor who had employed them, but the goons attacked them again. The police fled and the labourers at the railway station ran to an outpost where they are still staying in fear for their lives. They haven’t had anything to eat or drink since yesterday morning. Three of the men injured in the firing at the college are recuperating at a hospital, while the others are waiting to be rescued to safety.

At first, these goons were thought to be members of the AASU, but according to sources by locals, the goons belonged to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This proves to be just another tactic of the government – misleading the whole movement, trying to say that the Assamese are against the Hindu-Bengalis or the Muslims, something that is far from true.

Sources report that everywhere in the state where the protests have turned violent, it is either the police itself or radical elements not affiliated to any student groups that are creating unwanted and unprovoked chaos to portray a vicious picture of the students who are protesting peacefully.

The democratic right of the people to protest is being trampled upon, with the Army obstructing peaceful protests and creating chaos to terrorize the public.

Violence is being fomented by the authorities themselves and Assam is witnessing a war-like situation with the authorities targeting the youth, the backbone of the state.

The government, especially the BJP government represented by CM Sarbananda Sonowal is denying the discord and displeasure of the Assamese people branding their fears as rumours. The government is now telling that Assamese that only the ones left out of the NRC, the Hindus, will get citizenship and the others will be sent back. Where they will be sent back and who will take them, no one knows.

BJP Assam Senior Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has reduced matters to mockery by undermining the protests and is now allegedly eyeing to grab the CM’s post for himself. An FIR was filed against him by the students of Cotton University for allegedly shouting ‘Jai Bangladesh’ at the Assam legislative assembly premises earlier this month.

While only three people are reported to have lost their lives, the unofficial number has touched twenty five. The complete number of injured persons is unknown.

Assam has been in turmoil for four straight days with protests burgeoning in intensity. The extremists have tried to give the agitation a communal spin and represent the youth to be violent elements shattering the peace of Assam. There is no count of the number of human rights violations with crimes against women, arbitrary firing by the authorities, quashing the democratic right to protest, attacking the media, shutting communication services, daily necessities being out of reach and the situations for the injured getting worse by the minute.

Police brutality is gaining momentum with the support of the authorities in power. First Kashmir, then JNU, and now Assam. Who will be next?


Related:

3 killed in anti-CAB protests in Assam
Japan PM cancels Guwahati trip
Massive Protests against CAB in Aligarh

Assam engulfed in smoke as protests rage on
Anti- CAB protest continues in Assam, Quick Response Team called in Dibrugarh
Students injured, army called in as anti-CAB stir intensifies in Assam
48-hr Mobile Internet Ban as NE boils Over Citizenship Amendment Bill: Tripura

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The Citizenship Amendment Bill is Partition 2.0 : Dhruv Rathee

Sabrangindia 13 Dec 2019

While the entire nation is staging massive protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019, recently passed by the upper house of the Parliament, Dhruv Rathee explains, point by point, the problems and innate unconstitutionality of this bill and how it puts the life of citizens in jeopardy.

The Citizenship Amendment Bill is Partition 2.0 : Dhruv Rathee

While the entire nation is staging massive protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2019, recently passed by the upper house of the Parliament, Dhruv Rathee explains, point by point, the problems and innate unconstitutionality of this bill and how it puts the life of citizens in jeopardy.

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Police lathi-charge students at Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in Delhi

13 Dec 2019

PoliceImage Courtesy:scroll.in 

Violent clashes erupted when students of Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMIU) broke cordon and tried to scale barricades after police denied them the right to protest peacefully.

The protest call had been given by Jamia Teachers Union and hundreds of students turned up to participate in a march to the Parliament. But the police placed barricades near the Jamia stadium gate and did not allow the protestors to move forward. That’s when clashes broke out with many students attempting to climb and jump over the barricades. Students also allegedly pelted stones at the police.

During the clashes, police allegedly brutally attacked the protesters with lathis and even lobbed tear gas shells. Even though the justification given for the lathi charge was crown control, videos emerged on social media showing how in many instances police beat up students without provocation. 

 

In other videos, police personnel can be seen manhandling protesters including young women students.

 

Sources familiar with the developments told Sabrang India that many students had been injured with some sustaining serious head injuries. Many students were detained. Sources also told us that by shortly after 4:30 PM the entire Jamia Nagar neighbourhood had been surrounded by the police and even people living in far off neighbourhoods like Manzil Colony and Noor Nagar could hear tear gas shells.

The clashes let to a temporary shut down of Metro rail services at a few stations. Trains did not halt at Patel Chowk and Janpath, but services resumed later.

According to the Delhi Traffic Police, traffic movement was also affected on both carriageways from Jamia to Sukhdev Vihar and from Mathura Road to Sarai Jullena.

Police lathi-charge students at Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in Delhi

PoliceImage Courtesy:scroll.in 

Violent clashes erupted when students of Jamia Milia Islamia University (JMIU) broke cordon and tried to scale barricades after police denied them the right to protest peacefully.

The protest call had been given by Jamia Teachers Union and hundreds of students turned up to participate in a march to the Parliament. But the police placed barricades near the Jamia stadium gate and did not allow the protestors to move forward. That’s when clashes broke out with many students attempting to climb and jump over the barricades. Students also allegedly pelted stones at the police.

During the clashes, police allegedly brutally attacked the protesters with lathis and even lobbed tear gas shells. Even though the justification given for the lathi charge was crown control, videos emerged on social media showing how in many instances police beat up students without provocation. 

 

In other videos, police personnel can be seen manhandling protesters including young women students.

 

Sources familiar with the developments told Sabrang India that many students had been injured with some sustaining serious head injuries. Many students were detained. Sources also told us that by shortly after 4:30 PM the entire Jamia Nagar neighbourhood had been surrounded by the police and even people living in far off neighbourhoods like Manzil Colony and Noor Nagar could hear tear gas shells.

The clashes let to a temporary shut down of Metro rail services at a few stations. Trains did not halt at Patel Chowk and Janpath, but services resumed later.

According to the Delhi Traffic Police, traffic movement was also affected on both carriageways from Jamia to Sukhdev Vihar and from Mathura Road to Sarai Jullena.

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Watch: Teesta Setalvad and Mihir Desai on ALL INDIA NPR-NRC and CAB

Sabrangindia 13 Dec 2019

On 12th December, addressing the press, senior journalist and activist Teesta Setalvad and senior advocate Mihir Desai spoke about the NRC in Assam and its aftermath and the possible consequences of an All India NPR-NRC . They went on to talk about the unconstitutionality of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) and how it can create an environment of overwhelming hate and violence. The Press Conference, #NONRC Defend Citizenship and Defend our right to have rights, was organised by PUCL and Citizens for Justice and Peace

 

 

Watch: Teesta Setalvad and Mihir Desai on ALL INDIA NPR-NRC and CAB

On 12th December, addressing the press, senior journalist and activist Teesta Setalvad and senior advocate Mihir Desai spoke about the NRC in Assam and its aftermath and the possible consequences of an All India NPR-NRC . They went on to talk about the unconstitutionality of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) and how it can create an environment of overwhelming hate and violence. The Press Conference, #NONRC Defend Citizenship and Defend our right to have rights, was organised by PUCL and Citizens for Justice and Peace

 

 

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Protests against CAB spread across India

Sabrangindia 13 Dec 2019

With every passing day, the public outrage against the Citizenship Amendment Bill is intensifying. There were massive protests in the Capital at India gate and Jamia Millia Islamia, Kolkata and Mumbai.

Protests against CAB spread across India

With every passing day, the public outrage against the Citizenship Amendment Bill is intensifying. There were massive protests in the Capital at India gate and Jamia Millia Islamia, Kolkata and Mumbai.

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Tripura on the edge post CAB, leaders meet Amit Shah

Even as anti-CAB protests intensify in Assam, things are not getting better next door in Tripura either.

13 Dec 2019

Tripura

Mobile internet and SMS services had been suspended first for 48 hours starting December 10 and then extended for another 24 hours. Several companies of Assam Rifles, the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Tripura State Rifles (TSR) were deployed across the state and specially in sensitive areas of North Tripura and Dhalai district. Though there have been intermittent reports of protests and clashes, casualty figures cannot be confirmed.

Kirit Pradyot Deb Barman, scion of the erstwhile Manikya royal family of Tripura, explains the reasons behind the anti-CAB sentiments in the state telling reporters, “Tripura has always offered refuge to the persecuted. Before independence, the King of Tripura offered help to those affected by the Bengal famine. We again threw our doors open to those escaping violence during the Noakhali riots in 1946. Rajmata Kanchan Prabha Devi offered shelter to refugees in 1948. This tradition of offering refuge and help has continued over the years with the effect that now the population of original inhabitants of Tripura is down to 30 per cent and 70 per cent of the people in the state are outsiders!”

Deb Barman is also considering legal recourse against the Citizenship Amendment Act. On Thursday Deb Barman met with Union Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss the situation.

 


Amit Shah also met with a delegation from the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPTF) that is an ally of the BJP in the state. He also held a meeting with representatives of the Joint Movement Against CAB.
 


Meanwhile, Deb Barman dismisses allegations of being anti-Hindu and reiterates the state’s commitment to showing compassion to those in need. It is also noteworthy that it was Deb Barman who ensured that Bru refugees in the state’s refugee camps were given food and other supplies after the deadline for their repatriation to Mizoram passed. In fact, it was he who wrote to Amit Shah to appeal for their rehabilitation within Tripura itself.


Related:

3 killed in anti-CAB protests in Assam
48-hr Mobile Internet Ban as NE boils Over Citizenship Amendment Bill: Tripura
CAB gets Presidential assent, NE remains turbulent
Anti-CAB protestors defy curfew in Assam, PM’s tweet useless amidst internet shutdown
 

Tripura on the edge post CAB, leaders meet Amit Shah

Even as anti-CAB protests intensify in Assam, things are not getting better next door in Tripura either.

Tripura

Mobile internet and SMS services had been suspended first for 48 hours starting December 10 and then extended for another 24 hours. Several companies of Assam Rifles, the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Tripura State Rifles (TSR) were deployed across the state and specially in sensitive areas of North Tripura and Dhalai district. Though there have been intermittent reports of protests and clashes, casualty figures cannot be confirmed.

Kirit Pradyot Deb Barman, scion of the erstwhile Manikya royal family of Tripura, explains the reasons behind the anti-CAB sentiments in the state telling reporters, “Tripura has always offered refuge to the persecuted. Before independence, the King of Tripura offered help to those affected by the Bengal famine. We again threw our doors open to those escaping violence during the Noakhali riots in 1946. Rajmata Kanchan Prabha Devi offered shelter to refugees in 1948. This tradition of offering refuge and help has continued over the years with the effect that now the population of original inhabitants of Tripura is down to 30 per cent and 70 per cent of the people in the state are outsiders!”

Deb Barman is also considering legal recourse against the Citizenship Amendment Act. On Thursday Deb Barman met with Union Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss the situation.

 


Amit Shah also met with a delegation from the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPTF) that is an ally of the BJP in the state. He also held a meeting with representatives of the Joint Movement Against CAB.
 


Meanwhile, Deb Barman dismisses allegations of being anti-Hindu and reiterates the state’s commitment to showing compassion to those in need. It is also noteworthy that it was Deb Barman who ensured that Bru refugees in the state’s refugee camps were given food and other supplies after the deadline for their repatriation to Mizoram passed. In fact, it was he who wrote to Amit Shah to appeal for their rehabilitation within Tripura itself.


Related:

3 killed in anti-CAB protests in Assam
48-hr Mobile Internet Ban as NE boils Over Citizenship Amendment Bill: Tripura
CAB gets Presidential assent, NE remains turbulent
Anti-CAB protestors defy curfew in Assam, PM’s tweet useless amidst internet shutdown
 

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3 killed in anti-CAB protests in Assam

Police resort to firing, lathi-charge and tear gas shelling to control protesters, as agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill refuses to dissipate in Assam.

12 Dec 2019

Assam

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.


Related:

Assam engulfed in smoke as protests rage on
Anti- CAB protest continues in Assam, Quick Response Team called in Dibrugarh
Students injured, army called in as anti-CAB stir intensifies in Assam
48-hr Mobile Internet Ban as NE boils Over Citizenship Amendment Bill: Tripura

3 killed in anti-CAB protests in Assam

Police resort to firing, lathi-charge and tear gas shelling to control protesters, as agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill refuses to dissipate in Assam.

Assam

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.


Related:

Assam engulfed in smoke as protests rage on
Anti- CAB protest continues in Assam, Quick Response Team called in Dibrugarh
Students injured, army called in as anti-CAB stir intensifies in Assam
48-hr Mobile Internet Ban as NE boils Over Citizenship Amendment Bill: Tripura

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