Citizenship Amendment Bill protests in northeast: A top police officer in Assam said the situation on the ground continued to be “grim”. Another senior officer said the “situation is under control but clashes are happening all over the state”.
Two persons were killed in alleged police firing, two railway stations and a government office vandalised, the houses of two BJP MLAs attacked, and street clashes between protesters and security forces reported from across Assam Thursday as violent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill spilled over to a second day.
Late Thursday, the Union Law Ministry issued an official notification stating that President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to the Bill, which seeks to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians, Jains and Parsis — it leaves out Muslims — who entered the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan until December 31, 2014.
Earlier, Guwahati Police sources identified those “killed in clashes” in the city as Dipanjal Das (21) and Sam Stafford (32). They said that 21 others were injured in the violence, including nine admitted to the Guwahati Medical College — one of them is battling for life in the ICU. Relatives of Das, from Kamrup district, told The Indian Express that he was an employee at the Sainik Bhavan canteen in Guwahati and son of a rickshaw puller.
Governor Jagdish Mukhi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal issued separate appeals for peace. Sonowal requested protesters to not take the path of violence and asked leaders of the agitation to engage in dialogue with him.
But in Dibrugarh’s Chabua, the home town of Sonowal, officials said protesters vandalised the Circle office and the railway station. With protesters also targeting another station in Panitola, the Centre suspended rail services in Assam and Tripura, halted long-distance trains to the region in Guwahati, and deployed 12 companies of the Railway Protection Special Force.