11/12/2019 4:44 PM IST | Updated 11/12/2019 6:33 PM IST

Citizenship Bill Protests: Internet, Mobile Data To Be Suspended In 10 Districts Of Assam

The Indian Army has been deployed in parts of Tripura and is on standby in Assam.

BIJU BORO via Getty Images
Police personnel fire tear gas to disperse the students protesting against the government's Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), in Guwahati on December 11, 2019. 

After internet shutdown in Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh, internet and mobile data services are to be shut down for 24 hours in ten districts of Assam from 7 pm on Wednesday.

The northeast states are raging with protests against the bill Citizenship Amendment Bill being debated in the Parliament.

The Indian Army has been deployed in parts of Tripura and is on standby in Assam. The Centre on Wednesday airlifted 5,000 paramilitary personnel to the Northeast in wake of the protests, PTI reported.

The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha at midnight on Monday after furious debates and is currently being discussed in the Rajya Sabha.

Northeast states fear an influx of migrants, as a result of the bill, will gravely impact the identities and livelihoods of indigenous populations in the region.

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On Tuesday, the Tripura government blocked mobile internet and SMS services in state for 48 hours in view of the protests, NDTV reported. Arunachal Pradesh’s internet was also shut down, according to Hindustan Times.

In Assam, protesters this week had blocked roads, burnt tires and painted walls with slogans against the bill. Students groups had called for dawn-to-dusk shutdown in four districts of the state. Shops, businesses, educational and financial institutions have remained shut and public transport stayed off the roads.

On Wednesday, a large group of students fought a pitched battle with police personnel near the state secretariat in Guwahati, PTI said.

Besides Guwahati, protestors also clashed with the police in Dibrugarh district where the police fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets at demonstrators. A journalist was injured in stone-pelting there.

Students told PTI that several of them were injured in the lathicharge. “This is a barbaric government led by Sarbananda Sonowal. We will not succumb to any pressure till the CAB is repealed.”

According to Scroll, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal was stranded at the Guwahati airport for hours because of the protests.

The army has been deployed in Kanchanpur and Manu areas of Tripura while it is on standby near Bongaingon in Assam.

Of the 5,000 paramilitary personnel airlifted to the Northeast, nearly 20 companies (2,000 personnel) have been withdrawn from Kashmir, officials told PTI. They had been sent to Kashmir before the Centre’s decision on August 5 to abrogate Article 370 provisions and split the erstwhile state into two union territories. The remaining 30 companies have been withdrawn from other places and rushed to Northeastern states, the officials said. The troops are from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). 

Union minister Kiren Rijiju claimed the entire northeast had been given protection under the bill. “The concerns of the indigenous people of the northeast have been addressed thoroughly in the bill. I know that protests are going on in the northeast, there are concerns, but those have been addressed by the government. The entire northeast has complete protection under the Citizenship Bill and we do not want the region to fall into the trap of some mis-campaigning,” he said.

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