News & Information From Northeast India

Anti-CAB protesters lay siege of Guwahati

Spontaneous supporters of the 11-hour North East Students’ Organisation (NESO)-called Northeast region shutdown against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) came out in hundreds in different parts of Guwahati, virtually laying siege at several vantage points.

Police had to resort to baton charge at different locations of the city, while the bandh supporters and general public attempted to gherao the state secretariat at Dispur and Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) headquarter at Maligaon.

At least one protester and two policemen were injured in sporadic incidents during the protests.

The bandh supporters blocked several roads of the city, including NH 37 passing through Basistha area, since morning and burnt tyres at multiple places, including at Zoo Road, Pandu, Maligaon, Basistha, Hatigaon, Jalukbari and Ganeshguri.

The main gate of Guwahati Lok Sabha MP Queen Ojha was allegedly breached by AASU members, who entered the compound and burnt an effigy of the BJP leader, who is away in New Delhi for the Lok Sabha session.

Protesters also staged a demonstration in front of influential state Cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in the afternoon, after waving black flags at his convoy earlier in the day.

Two other Cabinet ministers – Keshav Mahanta and Siddhartha Bhattacharyya – and the Media Advisor to the CM Hrishikesh Goswami, also had to face public ire and change their routes to avoid being blocked by the people.

DGP (in-charge) Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta, was forced to return from the GS Road as picketers blocked his route as well.

Sporadic incidents of violence were also reported in the city, including at Hatigaon where protesters torched a scooter and in another incident, a state-run bus, ferrying passengers to a government programme, was damaged.

AASU activists staged a demonstration in front of the NFR headquarter in Maligaon area.

Protesters attempted to gherao the state secretariat at Dispur from different sides, but were met with police resistance.

Police had to baton charge near Super Market and Ganeshguri points to ensure that the protesters do not reach the secretariat gate, while at Last Gate point, the picketers sat on a demonstration.

All business establishments and educational institutions also remained closed in the city, while vehicles kept off the roads in view of the 11-hour shutdown called by NESO, a joint platform of students organizations of NE, with All Assam Students Union (AASU) also being a member.

Assam as well as the Northeast region has been opposing the CAB, which seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi, Jain and Christian refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India prior to December 31, 2004.

The protesters have been claiming that it will change the demographic pattern of the state as well as NE region.


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