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Protesters defy curfew; 2 killed in Guwahati

Guwahati resembled a garrison town with Army, paramilitary and state police personnel occupying the city. Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Tezpur and Dhekiajuli were under curfew. Across Assam, houses of several BJP MLAs and BJP and RSS offices came under attack. Internet services remained suspended in ten districts.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Dec 13, 2019, 01.14 PM IST
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Anti-CAB protests: Assam on boil, two dead in police firing
Anti-CAB protests: Assam on boil, two dead in police firing
Guwahati: Two people were killed on Thursday when security forces fired at protesters who laid siege to Guwahati despite curfew and deployment of Army columns.

The state capital resembled a garrison town with Army, paramilitary and state police personnel occupying the city. However, it did not stop thousands of agitators who swarmed the streets, even as Army contingents staged flag marches. Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Tezpur and Dhekiajuli were under curfew. Jorhat, Golaghat, Tinsukia and Charaideo districts were under night curfew.

Employees of Gauhati Medical College said “four people were brought to the hospital and their condition was critical”. Internet services remained suspended in ten districts.

A senior police official said several protestors were injured across the state. Dibrugarh continued to be restive. In Rangia town, police shot rubber bullets to quell a mob. Five columns of Army, comprising 350 personnel, have been deployed in Guwahati, Tinsukia, Jorhat and Dibrugarh.

Across Assam, houses of several BJP MLAs and BJP and RSS offices came under attack. BJP office in Guwahati was attacked by a mob and there was arson in the RSS office in Chabua. RSS offices were vandalised in Amolapatty in Golaghat, Dibrugarh and Sadiya.

Its Tezpur office too was attacked. Residences of handloom minister Ranjit Dutta at Behali and Union food processing industries minister Rameswar Teli were pelted with stones. The house of BJP MLA Binod Hazarika was torched in Chabua and the house of BJP MLA Padam Hazarika was picketed.

The headquarters of the Asom Gana Parishad in Ambari was attacked too. Protesters smashed window panes and caused damage to the property.

DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta too was pelted with stones in Guwahati. Four protestors were injured when police retaliated against stone pelters in the capital’s Lalung Goan area. Generator and welding sets were set on fire by protesters.

Burning tyres made the Guwahati-Shillong highway inaccessible. A mob set a car on fire in Shillong’s Police Bazar following which Meghalaya’s capital city was shutdown. Areas under two police stations were under curfew. Mobile internet and messaging services were suspended in the state for 48 hours from 5 pm on Thursday.

Home ministry officials said in New Delhi that they were hopeful that law and order would improve in the next couple of days. There were sufficient forces available with the state government including Army and paramilitary, it said. According to an official, internet was suspended based on Intelligence Bureau inputs that warned of possibility of rumours and fake news on social media.

AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya said “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal have betrayed the people of Assam by ensuring passage of the bill... BJP’s ally and regional party AGP betrayed the people of the state for the sole MP in Rajya Sabha Birendra Prasad Baishya had voted in favour of the bill. Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal must not forget that he was AASU leader and has reached chief minister’s chair due to this platform. We will not tolerate his bowing to the powers in Delhi”. KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi was arrested for his role in the CAB protest. AASU will observe December 12 as black day every year. AGP’s support for CAB has triggered a huge debate among its rank and file. Several of its leaders have begun criticising the AGP leadership.

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