Indian north-eastern states erupt in protests against citizenship bill
Major opposition parties from the northeast region, including Indian National Congress (INC), Nationalist Congress Party, and Trinamool Congress voted against the bill in the lower house
Protesters took to the streets in various parts of India from December 9 as the Indian government offered a controversial bill in parliament that would give citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Slew protests were seen from different parts of the country including Delhi, Assam, Tripura, and other north-eastern states.
People in the northeast fear that a large number of Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, who they say are intruders, will swamp their homeland. As a result, the protesters clashed with police, set fire to tyres and cut down trees to block roads, reports Hindustan Times.
Besides, major opposition parties from the northeast region, including Indian National Congress (INC), Nationalist Congress Party, and Trinamool Congress voted against the bill in the lower house, reports ABP News.
Two prominent student bodies - the North East Students Organization (NESO) and All Assam Students Union (AASU) – have been at the forefront of the agitation against the bill.
Police detained at least 1,000 people during the course of the 11-hour bandh called forth by the Northeast Students' Organisation, of which the influential All Assam Students' Union is a key constituent, reports The Times of India.
The powerful All Assam Students' Union has threatened to launch an all-out agitation if the bill is passed, reports NDTV.
In Jalukbari, a group of protesters blocked the road that leads to minister Himanta Biswa Sarma's residence and shouted slogans against the citizenship bill. They left only after the police fired blanks to disperse them.
Four protesters were injured in a clash with police personnel near Dispur, where the state secretariat and the assembly building are located. The group prevented education minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya's convoy from entering the secretariat complex.
National award-winning filmmaker Jahnu Barua, Assamese actor Barsharani Bishaya and several other artistes showed solidarity with organisations leading the campaign against the citizenship bill.
Gauhati University students took part in a torchlight rally during a protest against the bill at Jalukbari, reports News18.
On November 10, traders were attacked, shops set ablaze in two Tripura districts while the streets of Guwahati were littered with burnt tyres, stones and teargas shells as protests against the bill turned violent and virulent in parts of the northeast.
The Tripura administration suspended internet service for 48 hours in wake of rising protests.
A fruit vendor was critically injured when protesters hit him on the head with sharp weapons, a senior police official said.
Three other traders also suffered injuries in separate attacks by the protesters, reports The Times of India.
Life came to a standstill in Manipur during the bandh called by the All Manipur Students' Union, reports The Times of India.
The Union on Tuesday called for a total shutdown in the state from 3am to 6pm to protest against the bill. The union said it would intensify its agitation if the bill was not immediately withdrawn, reports ABP News.
The hilly state was almost completely shut in protest against the bill, although the lone Lok Sabha MP of the National People's Party, voted in favour of it.
The 11-hour Neso-called bandh kept educational institutions, banks, markets and commercial establishments closed throughout the day. Protesters in Itanagar pelted vehicles with stones and burnt tyres on NH 415, SP Tumme Amo said, reports The Times of India.
Apart from north-eastern states, Delhi, the capital of India, also witnessed protest demonstrations by political parties, students' bodies and civil society groups over the bill on December 10, reports ABP News.
The Northeast Students' Union is staging a protest against the bill at Jantar Mantar. People from various walks of life and organisations have joined the stir.
The Communist Party of India's Delhi state committee members also held a protest at the same venue against the contentious bill.
Members of the Left party were seen carrying banners, saying "CAB waapis lo" (withdraw the CAB) and "Dharm aadharit CAB nahi chalega" (won't accept a CAB based on religion).