Student protesters clash with CRPF, several injured; paramilitary, RAF on standby; protesters threaten to barge into Assam Secretariat
Guwahati: Streets of Guwahati has turned into a war zone. Thousands of protesters, mostly students, have descended on the streets raising slogans registering their protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill even as intense debate and discussion continues in Rajya Sabha. Union home minister Amit Shah tabled the Bill on Wednesday at 12 noon.
Police have resorted to firing tear gas shells and lathi charge to disperse protesters and keep the situation under control.
Protesters are now threatening to barge inside the Assam Secretariat that houses the office of the Chief Minister and ministers of his Cabinet. Security has been further tightened. Para-military forces have been called in and Rapid Action Force has been put on standby.
Protests across Guwahati has brought traffic to a standstill. Vehicles moving in and out of the city has been stranded for hours.
Protesters have damaged stages and decorations that were put up across Guwahati ahead of the visit of Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Protesters have burnt most of the decorations.
Markets across Guwahati has been shut.
Indian Railways has cancelled 8 trains due to indefinite ‘Rail Roko’ called by several organisations.
The situation in most parts of Upper Assam is tense. The worst affected areas being Dibrugarh, the hometown of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Jorhat, the hometown of former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Tezpur and Tinsukia, the commercial town of Assam.
The Mohanbari airport of Dibrugarh has been shut. Police resorted to lathi charge and firing to disperse protesters who blocked National Highways. Several injuries when been reported. A polytechnic student received rubber bullet injury and is undergoing treatment in Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh. Police also used tear gas shells. Army has been called in in Dibrugarh, according to defence ministry sources.
Clashes between protesting students and CRPF have been reported from Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Tinsukia and Tezpur.