Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that a deadly plan was hatched by the banned Islamist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) along with a leading intellectual of Assam during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests to burn down the Assam assembly secretariat and a NIA investigation has been initiated to unearth the conspiracy.
“A leading intellectual from Assam who is working with a central university was in coordination with PFI members and were planning a deadliest attack to burnt down the assembly on a day when protests broke out across the city,” Sarma said adding that a certain section of state Congress members were involved in arson, looting and vandalism in front of the assembly secretariat.
Showing video-graphic and photographic evidence, Sarma said that the violent protest near the assembly was a planned attack and senior Congress workers were involved in it.
He said that a special investigation team has been formed which will be led by Deputy Inspector General of Police (CID) Mridulananda Sarma to probe into the acts of violence during the anti-CAA agitation in Assam.
Sarma said that till date 273 people has been arrested under different IPC sections for arson, looting and vandalism.
“107 people who were arrested for arson in Guwahati were from Barpeta, Dhubri and Goalpara who has nothing to do with protests but were only involved in arson and vandalism,” Sarma said.
Meanwhile, Sarma said that he will have a discussion with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on finding out a political solution to the present situation.
“We have respect for democratic protests and every problem will have a political solution,” Sarma said.
On the participation of government employees on the ongoing agitation, Sarma said no pay cut will be done for employees of the state government who participate in planned anti-CAA protests on December 18.
However, he cautioned that any state government employee taking part in protest rally organized by political parties will face government action.
On the issue of internet ban, Sarma said that after reviewing the situation with security agencies it has been decided that the ban on mobile internet will continue for another two days.
Protests against the CAA, 2019, continued in Assam, though there was no further disruption of law and order situation, leading to lifting of curfew from main city Guwahati, while internet services were also restored partially on December 17.
The overall situation across the state improved gradually, with no fresh incidents of violence reported in over 48 hours. This has led to withdrawal of indefinite curfew from Guwahati city from 6 am on December 17, while in Dibrugarh, it was relaxed for 15 hours on December. The night curfew in few other parts of eastern Assam is also likely to be withdrawn soon.
Internet services, which were blocked in 10 districts of the state since evening of December 11, were partially restored since 9 am this morning with all service provides of broadband internet allowed to resume their service.
Train services have started to be restored, with running of local and intercity passenger trains resumed on December 17 after about remaining cancelled for more than four days. Running of Delhi and Mumbai bound trains had resumed three days back, though east and southern bound trains from NFR have been cancelled for the last three days due to violence during anti-CAA protests in West Bengal. Meanwhile, protests against the CAA continued in different parts of the state.