Curfew has been imposed in Guwahati for an indefinite period, while mobile internet and data services have been suspended in ten districts including Dibrugarh, Jorhat and Lakhinpur, till 7 pm Thursday, amid violent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, across the state.
Tens of thousands of protesters against the CAB descended on the streets of Assam, clashing with police and plunging the state into chaos of a magnitude unseen since the violent six-year movement by students that ended with the signing of the Assam Accord.
Though no party or student body has called a shutdown, protesters, a majority of them students, fought pitched battles with security forces in the restive state, including in front of the secretariat, the seat of the BJP government.
Police fired tear gas shells and baton-charged protesters, who fought back.
Assam smouldered with protests on the day the Rajya passed the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill following a hotly debated discussion on the legality of the Bill, after its passage by the Lok Sabha.
The curfew, which was imposed at 6.15 pm, has been extended till indefinite period, Assam Police Additional Director General (Law and Order) Mukesh Agrawal told PTI.
"We will periodically review the situation and take the decision to lift it accordingly," he added.
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The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which has already been approved by Lok Sabha, proposes to give citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Parsis, Jains, Budhists and Sikhs facing religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The Assam government on Wednesday suspended mobile internet and data services of all service providers for 24 hours starting 7 pm Wednesday in Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Kamrup (Metro) and Kamrup districts, according to a notification issued by the government.
In Dibrugarh, to tackle the situation, the police had to fire rubber bullets and resort to lathi charge on the protesters, police said.
A journalist was injured in stone-pelting by a mob and the police lobbed tear gas shells to disperse them near a polytechnic institute in Dibrugarh town, police said.
Though no organisation has called for a bandh on Wednesday, people have come out in large numbers in Jorhat, Golaghat, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Sivasagar, Bongaigaon, Nagaon, Sonitpur and several other districts since morning.
Tyres were burnt and logs placed on the roads and rail tracks to stop the movement of vehicles and trains across the state, officials said.
Police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse protesters to clear the roads and rail tracks near Chaulkhowa in Dibrugarh.
Rubber bullets were fired and lathi-charge was carried out against agitators at Moran in the district, police said.
Kumar Sanjay Krishna, Additional Chief Secretary to the Government of Assam, ordered the suspension of mobile internet services saying that there are probabilities of such protests intensifying. Citing reports in the electronic media, he said that "the protesters are involved in vandalism which is likely to spread and create law and order situation in the state".
"Social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and YouTube etc, are likely to be used for spreading of rumours and also the transmission of information like pictures, videos and text that have potential to inflame passions and thus exacerbate the law and order situation," he added in the order.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Dec 11, 2019 22:10:35 IST