Assam bandh LATEST updates: The state police has arrested at least 100 protesters from across the state for trying to enforce the bandh.
The Citizens' Rights Protection Co-Ordination Committee (CRPCC), a conglomerate of 43 organisations in south Assam's Barak Valley is opposing the shutdown. Sadhan Purkayastha, the general secretary of the organisation said the move of calling the bandh by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and many other organisations, is a conspiracy to create enmity between people of different communities. "The people of Barak Valley are never going to support this," he said
The bandh call in Assam seems to have gathered a mix response till the early hours of Tuesday morning. While Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Guwahati remained partially hit, life in Silchar district in the state remained normal. Over 100 protesters have been detained so far for forcefully trying to enforce bandh.
The Assam government has instructed all district magistrates and superintendents of police to take all measures to maintain the public utility services on Tuesday in view of the bandh call given by a bunch of organisations against the Citizenship Bill.
A government communique in this regard said that all necessary pre-emptive and preventive measures to thwart the bandh call must be taken in view of the judgement of the Gauhati High Court.
Representational image. Reuters
The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) have called the 12-hour statewide bandh Tuesday to protest against the Centre's bid to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in the Winter Session of Parliament.
Political parties, including the Congress, have extended their support to the bandh in the interest of Assam and its indigenous people.
"The state government has directed all district administrations to ensure that there is no bandh, with all deputy commissioners issuing orders that all shops, business establishments, educational institutions remain open, transport facilities should function normally and all government officials should attend to their duties," official sources said.
KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi said this was the first time that they had called a bandh and they would not call it off as the very ''existence of the Assamese and their identity was at stake by the Bill".
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in the Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before 31 December 31, 2014.
Earlier in the day, finance and health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the Gauhati High Court had ruled that calling a bandh was an illegal act and so the statewide bandh called by 46 organisations on Tuesday cannot be allowed.
"All shops and business establishments should remain open while government employees must report for their duties or else it will be treated as a contempt of court," he added.
The Gauhati High Court had banned bandhs in the state and termed them "unconstitutional and illegal".
"The ruling BJP's alliance partner, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), though not supporting the bandh, has called a separate rally Tuesday to protest against the proposed Bill," party president and Agriculture Minister Atul Bora said.
A team of AGP ministers, MLAs and leaders also went to Delhi to meet the members of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the Bill.
The All Assam Students' Union (AASU) is also not supporting the bandh as the students' body has a policy of not calling bandhs but "others have the democratic right to protest", AASU General Secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi told PTI.
"We are, however, opposed to the Bill and will in no way accept it", he added.
Assam Congress president Ripun Bora said the party has extended its support to the bandh on this issue. "If the Bill is passed, it will go against the provisions of the historic Assam Accord", he added.
"The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) has also extended its moral support to the bandh called by the organisations on the issue of the Bill," a party release said.
The finance minister further said that following an assessment of the prevailing law and order situation in the state, permission will not be granted for the 17 November convention organised by the Citizen Right Protection Forum, Assam (CRPFA), a conglomeration of 26 Bengali organisations, in support of the Citizenship Bill.
Meanwhile, various district administrations in Assam have asked all the essential service providers to continue their services on 23 October and to renounce the bandh call of different organisations.
"The Police Commissioner of Guwahati, Pradip Chandra Saloi, assures that adequate security measures will be taken to ensure law and order in the district during the bandh," a release issued by the Kamrup Metro district administration said.
Police Commissioner Sri Saloi and Deputy Commissioner Virendra Mittal asked the members of different business organisations to keep their establishments open on 23 October.