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Assam tense; protests against CAA In other states

Beldanga railway complex in in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district set ablaze by protestors; 5 CMs say will not implement Act; protests are happening in Shillong, Kolkata, Delhi, Chennai, Kerala and Gujarat. Mamata Banerjee calls for a major protest in Kolkata on Monday.

ET Bureau & Agencies|
Updated: Dec 14, 2019, 09.02 AM IST
New Delhi/Guwahati/Kolkata: Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act were held in more states across the country on Friday even as Assam remained tense but relatively peaceful after two days of arson and vandalism.

Agitators set ablaze the Beldanga railway station complex in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district and assaulted RPF personnel. Police fired teargas shells to disperse protesters marching towards the Meghalaya Raj Bhavan in Shillong.

(Charred remains of a train set on fire by protestors against CAB and NRC, in Beldanga station, Murshidabad)

Students’ unions in Arunachal Pradesh boycotted exams and hit the streets across the state, seeking immediate revocation of the law. Thousands of students marched 30 km of hilly terrain to Raj Bhavan to ask governor BD Mishra in a memorandum not to implement the law in the state.

Police with batons and firing tear gas clashed with hundreds of students in New Delhi. Protesters set fire to placards in Amritsar. Rallies were held in Kolkata, Chennai, Kerala and Gujarat. With four people still in a critical condition in Guwahati, the UN human rights office in Geneva called on India “to respect the right to peaceful assembly, and to abide by international norms and standards on the use of force when responding to protests.”

Chief ministers of West Bengal, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh said they will not implement the law. Congress in Assam demanded a special session of the Assam assembly to discuss CAA. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee called for a major protests in Kolkata on Monday.

Around 20 people were hurt in clashes in Meghalaya. “They can’t settle anyone in our motherland. This is unacceptable. We will die but not allow outsiders to settle here,” said Manav Das, a protester, in Guwahati. Several districts in Assam remained under curfew though it was relaxed in Dibrugarh.

Additional director general of police (law and order) GP Singh told ET “there is improvement in the situation. There are no fresh incidents of violence or arson. In Guwahati alone we have picked up 17 to 18 people who were engaged in different violent activities.” To arrest the deteriorating law and order situation in Guwahati, Morigaon, Sonitpur and Dibrugarh, the services of Assam Rifles was requisitioned.

P Khongsai, public relation officer (defence), Guwahati said that till now a total of eight columns have been requisitioned which included one in Bongaigaon, one in Morigaon, four columns in Guwahati and two in Sonitpur. All Army and Assam Rifles columns have managed to restore normalcy in these areas and have been continuously working in aid to civil administration.

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Assam unit BJP president Ranjit Kumar Dass said “some people with their face covered and speaking a strange language caused widespread damage to Sankardev Kalashetra, one of the institutions which the state got after the Assam agitation.” He alleged that in upper Assam the Congress was involved in the incident and several zila parishad and anchalik parishad members were targeted.

“In Digboi BJP workers were beaten up and threatened of dire consequences if they do not leave the party. We got frantic calls from workers and we suggested to tell the attackers that you have left BJP. In lower Assam an organisation named IPF took advantage of the situation and several members of the organisations engaged in running vehicles carried out vandalism and arson.”

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