Bandh against Citizenship Bill affects normal life in Assam, several parts of Northeast

A total shutdown call against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, by North East Students’ Organization (NESO), All Assam Students’ Union and several other organizations in the Northeast on January 8 drew total response in Assam and several parts of Northeast India.

Businesses in Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, North Lakhimpur, Shillong and several other areas in the region were reported closed in response to the bandh call by the student organizations and other civil society bodies.

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Several private educational institutions in Guwahati were closed. City buses and private vehicles in Guwahati were off the roads as activists were seen asking people not to ply their vehicles.

A viral video early morning on January 8 showed activists resorting to vandalism in Guwahati as several vehicles were damaged.

In Dibrugarh, bandh supporters blocked the highway in front of the Dibrugarh University. A minor scuffle broke out when vehicles belonging to paramilitary forces were also stopped by the bandh supporters.

The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) called for the state-wide bandh after a gap of 10 years. It is supported by the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which withdrew support to the BJP-led government in Assam on January 7, the opposition Congress, the AIUDF, and the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), among others.

The bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 to grant Indian citizenship to people from minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 even if they don’t possess any proper document.