14/12/2019 9:28 AM IST

Citizenship Act Protests: Curfew Relaxed In Guwahati, Schools, Offices Shut

Eight columns of the Army and Assam Rifles have been deployed in Assam, including Guwahati, to control protests.

SAJJAD HUSSAIN via Getty Images
Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against the government's Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Guwahati on December 13, 2019.

The curfew, imposed in Guwahati amid protests against the amended Citizenship Act, was relaxed on Saturday from 9 am to 4pm, police said.

Long queues were seen outside shops at several places, including Dispur, Uzan Bazar, Chandmari, Silpukhuri and Zoo Road. Auto-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws were plying across the city. However, buses were off roads.

Petrol pumps in the city have also opened with vehicles waiting in lines to refuel.

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The curfew has been relaxed from 9 am to 4pm, a police spokesperson said. Police are using loudspeakers to inform the public about the relaxation, he added.

Schools and offices, however, remained shut.

After the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was cleared by Parliament, violent protests broke out in the city and other parts of the state with agitators engaging in pitched battles with the police, following which the administration to imposed curfew.

Eight columns of the Army and Assam Rifles have been deployed in Assam, including Guwahati, to control protests.

Frenzied mobs blocked roads in different parts of Assam with burning discarded tyres and menaced commuters by bludgeoning their vehicles with sticks and stones.

Two railway stations were torched while houses of several legislators, including the private residence of Sonowal, were attacked by mobs.

Protests against the amended Citizenship Act raged across northeast, with students’ unions in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday boycotting their examination to hit the streets across cities, seeking immediate revocation of the law.

In Nagaland, the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) has called a 6-hour bandh on Saturday to protest against the amended Citizenship Act. The bandh began at 6am.

Protests reached the West Bengal on Friday, with agitators resorting to violence and arson at railway stations and thoroughfares across the state, seeking immediate revocation of the law. 

In Uttar Pradesh, hundreds of Aligarh Muslim University students and teachers organised separate protest marches on Friday and handed over two memorandums to authorities, demanding immediate withdrawal of the amendments made to the Citizenship Act.

Delhi protests

On Friday, a large number of protesters, including Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind leaders, protested at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar on Friday against the amended citizenship law, which they described as “anti-constitutional” and “divisive”, and demanded its immediate withdrawal.

Separately, Jamia Millia Islamia University students held a protest against the law at the university. A third protest was organised by the Delhi Congress in Seelampur area of East Delhi.

Forty-two students of Jamia Millia Islamia University were detained and later released while 12 policemen were injured after police stopped students from marching to Parliament House to protest against the amended Citizenship Act, officials said on Friday. The police used tear gas and force to disperse the agitators, officials said.

US concerned

The United States is concerned about the implications of the amended Citizenship Act in India, a top American diplomat responsible for monitoring international religious freedom said on Friday.

“One of India’s great strengths is its Constitution. As a fellow democracy, we respect India’s institutions, but are concerned about the implications of the CAB Bill,” Sam Brownback, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, said in a tweet.

“We hope the government will abide by its constitutional commitments, including on religious freedom,” he said in his tweet, which comes days before next week’s 2+2 ministerial between India and the US.