Authorities have imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Code of Procedure in parts of Guwahati’s East Police District, Time8 reported on Thursday. The move came amid protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Assam.
According to the order, curfew has been imposed in areas under the jurisdiction of Dispur, Bhangagarh, Basistha, Hatigaon, Sonapur and Khetri police stations, Pratidin Time reported. The assembly of more than five people, processions, demonstrations and shouting of slogans are prohibited.
“Some specified and unspecified persons or groups of persons or organisations/associations are likely to disturb normal functioning of offices, movement of public and flow of traffic in parts of East Police District, Guwahati and it is apprehended that such groups of persons or organisations/associations are planning to carry out agitation/demonstration/shouting of slogans in parts of East Police District which may cause breach of peace and public order and may cause disturbance/interruption of peaceful movement of traffic, public and normal functioning of the offices,” said the order dated January 9. The curfew came into force on January 7, it added.
The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the bill that seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 to grant citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan if they have lived in India for six years. According to the draft law, they will be granted citizenship even if they do not possess the required documents.
The passage has stoked tension in Assam and led to mass protests. Crowds participated in a “Sankalpa Divas” outside the state secretariat in Guwahati on Thursday, asserting that the bill threatens the existence of the Assamese people, PTI reported.
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti President Akhil Gogoi said the draft law was draconian and communal. “If this bill is accepted, the very secular fabric of India will be destroyed,” he said. “If the bill is passed, at least 190 million people from Bangladesh will find their way to Assam, threatening the existence of its original inhabitants.”
Junior doctors at the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital Thursday wore black badges to work, while members of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee’s legal department raised slogans against the government.
Students from several educational institutions in the state capital also boycotted classes and tried to march to the state capital Dispur, but they were thwarted by the security forces.
The Asom Gana Parishad, an ally of the BJP, has also pulled out of the coalition earlier this week in protest against the Citizenship Bill. Three Asom Gana Parishad state ministers quit on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, the Assam Police filed a sedition case against anti-corruption activist Akhil Gogoi, academic Hiren Gohain and former journalist Manjit Mahanta for allegedly speaking “against the law” at a recent public meeting protesting the proposed law.