Two people died in Guwahati on Thursday, the Director General of Police told Scroll.in, as protests against the passage of amendments to India’s citizenship law intensified. Another 11 people are injured with bullet wounds, Reuters reported.
Indefinite curfew has been imposed in Guwahati and Dibrugarh. Mobile internet services were suspended for another 48 hours in 10 districts of Assam. In Guwahati, even broadband internet has been suspended for 48 hours.
Around 300 protestors were detained in the state, including activist Akhil Gogoi who was arrested in Jorhat.
In neighbouring Meghalaya, mobile internet services were suspended for 48 hours across the state. Curfew was imposed in the state capital Shillong.
Earlier in the day, the Indian Union Muslim League moved the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the amendments to the Citizenship Act. The amendment bill was passed in Parliament this week following lengthy debates and amid protests in the North East. It explicitly excludes Muslims from three neighbouring countries from applying for Indian citizenship.
Flights were cancelled to and from Dibrugarh as protests against the bill escalated in Assam. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday told the people of Assam that there was no need to worry about the new law.
00.25 am: Mobile internet services suspended across Meghalaya for 48 hours, ANI reported.
11:20 pm: A video posted by EastMojo showed residents of Shillong defying curfew to come out to protest earlier in the evening.
11:00 pm: Protestors stopped a train near Naharkatia railway station in Dibrugarh district on Thursday, but the railway authorities alerted the Indian Army which managed to prevent arson, a defence spokesperson told EastMojo.
10:45 pm: The Congress described the Citizenship Act as a “suspect” legislation. “It will be challenged in court,” party leader Abhsihek Singhvi told PTI.
10:30 pm: Broadband internet services have been suspended in Guwahati for 48 hours, said Sanjay Krishna, additional chief secretary, home and political department.
10:05 pm: The two people who died in Guwahati were killed in separate incidents of firing in Lachit Nagar and Hatigaon localities of Guwahati, reported EastMojo.
10:00 pm: Three panchayat offices were torched by protestors in Tinsukia district, which has been placed under curfew, the news website EastMojo reported.
9.45 pm: Assam Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami, who belongs to the BJP, told PTI that doubts over the Citizenship Act were not baseless and there was a strong possibility that it could create divisions.
9.30 pm: A mob in Chabua town torched the house of BJP MLA Binod Hazarika, Reuters reported. Government property, including a post office, were also set on fire. “The situation is very bad here,” a police official said.
9.06 pm: Assam’s Director General of Police confirms to Scroll.in that two people have died amid protests and at least eight are injured. Meanwhile, Reuters reports 11 other people are injured with bullet wounds, attributing the information to Ramen Talukdar, superintendent of Gauhati Medical College Hospital.
9 pm: Akhil Gogoi was arrested as a preventive measure, PTI reports. He was arrested in Assam’s Jorhat district.
8.40 pm: Activist and President of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity Akhil Gogoi has been detained, reports PTI.
8.35 pm: Nine trains to and from Dibrugarh in Assam have been cancelled and partially cancelled because of ongoing protests against the amended Citizenship Act in various parts of the North East, reports PTI.
Three trains, including the Rajdhani Express travelling from Dibrugarh to New Delhi, have been cancelled, while six trains, including the Brahmaputra Mail from Delhi to Dibrugarh, have been partially cancelled.
8.30 pm: Assam Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta urges people to exercise restraint, reports PTI. “We do not have anything to say if the protests are democratic,” he says. “But I am appealing to the people not to take the law into their hands to create disturbances.”
8.25 pm: Indefinite curfew has been imposed in Assam’s Tezpur and Dhekiajuli towns, reports PTI, citing officials.
8.23 pm: Night curfew imposed in Jorhat, Golaghat, Tinsukia and Charaideo districts of Assam, reports PTI, citing officials.
8.20 pm: “By linking citizenship with religion, the Bill will hit at the very foundation of the nation.... What if other countries, where Indians are settled in large numbers and have acquired their citizenship, decide to bring in a similar legislation,” Punjab chief minister asks. “What will happen to those Indians if the countries of their stay decide to withdraw their citizenship on account of their religious beliefs?”
8.18 pm: Any legislation that seeks to “divide the people of the country on religious lines is illegal and unethical, and could not be allowed to sustain,” Amarinder Singh says in a statement issued.
8.15 pm: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh says the amendments to the Citizenship Act are a “direct assault on India’s secular character”, reports ANI. He says his government will not allow the legislation to be implemented in his state.
7.40 pm: An unidentified official of the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital told PTI that one person was “brought dead” and another succumbed to injuries while undergoing treatment.
7.34 pm: One more person has died in Assam at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, reports PTI.
7.20 pm: One person has died during protests against the amendments to the Citizenship Act in Assam, reports Reuters, citing hospital staff.
7.17 pm: After Bangladesh’s foreign minister, its home minister now cancels his trip to India, The Hindu reports.
7.15 pm: Internet has been suspended in Meghalaya and there will be a curfew in Shillong from 10 pm, News18 reports.
6.28 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party National General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya says West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is opposing the Citizenship Amendment Bill as she is afraid of losing her vote bank, reports PTI.
6.20 pm: Maharashtra police officer Abdur Rahman, who refused to attend office in an act of “civil disobedience” against the amendments made the Citizenship Act, says “either my application for VRS [Voluntary Retirement Scheme] should be accepted or my letter should be accepted as my letter of resignation”, reports ANI.
Rahman was posted as the special inspector general of police in the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission. He announced his decision to resign on Wednesday night after the passage of the bill in Rajya Sabha.
6.15 pm: Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi appeals to the people of the state to maintain peace, reports PTI. “If the student community has any issues against the government they have every right to agitate but they should do it in a democratic and peaceful manner, without taking the law in their hands,” he adds.
Thousands of protestors took to the streets in defiance of a curfew imposed after the Parliament cleared the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill the previous night.
6.06 pm: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan says the state will not accept the amendments to Citizenship Act, ANI reports. “CAB is unconstitutional,” he says. “The central government is trying to divide India on religious lines. This is a move to sabotage equality and secularism.”
6.02 pm: Congress to move Supreme Court to challenge the constitutional validity of the amendments to the Citizenship Act, reports NDTV. The Indian Union Muslim League earlier in the day moved top court, saying the law violated the basic and fundamental value of the Constitution that “all should be treated equally alike” and should be struck down for violation of the fundamental right to equality under Article 14.
5.55 pm: Schools in Assam’s Guwahati to be shut till December 22 as protests against the contentious amendments to the Citizenship Act of 1955 continued for the third day.
5.45 pm: Nagaland government issues travel advisory asking commuters travelling from Longeng via Assam to other parts of the state to avoid travelling via Assam till the situation improves, reports The Indian Express.
5.40 pm: Former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s son Utpal Parrikar supports the contentious amendments to the Citizenship Act of 1955. He says it is a step “towards correcting historical wrong”, reports PTI.
5.30 pm: BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma tells PTI the amendments to the Citizenship Act will not adversely affect Assam. “Implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord promised by Amit Shah will create new hope of political stability in Assam,” he adds.
Assamese nationalists signed the accord in 1985 with the Centre. It brought to an end a six-year-long, often violent, anti-immigrant movement, that was sparked by anxieties over fresh migration into Assam in the aftermath of the Bangladesh War of 1971.
5.25 pm: Protestors throw stones at Assam Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta’s convoy at GS Road in Guwahati, reports PTI.
5.20 pm: Singer Papon cancels his concert in Delhi on Friday. “I am very sorry but I have decided not to do the concert tomorrow at ‘imperfectoshor’ as planned,” he tweets. “My home state Assam is burning, crying and under curfew! I won’t be able to entertain you the way I should in my present state of mind.”
5.10 pm: Around 300 protestors have been detained across Assam, says Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta.
4.55 pm: Footballer-turned-politician Bhaichung Bhutia says the future of next generation of Sikkimese people could be in danger once the passage of the amendments to the Citizenship Act comes into force, reports PTI.
4.40 pm: Asom Gana Parishad headquarters in Guwahati’s Ambari area attacked by protestors. The vehicles parked outside have also been vandalised, says police, according to PTI.
4.25 pm: BJP MLA Binod Hazarika’s house set on fire in Assam’s Dibrugarh district, reports PTI, citing officials. The circle office in Chabua town was also burned down by protestors.
4.23 pm: “13 flights have been cancelled at Guwahati airport, 178 passengers who were stuck at Dibrugarh airport were brought to Guwahati via an IndiGo flight,” Regional Executive Director of Airports Authority Of India Sanjeev Jindal tells ANI.
4.15 pm: Actor and Assam BJP leader Jatin Bora resigns from the party, reports ANI.
4.10 pm: The Congress leader adds that a government cannot use religion to create laws. “You cannot make any law on the basis of a particular religion,” Azad tells PTI. “This law is being made for one particular religion. What we are saying is it is against the Constitution and thus is unconstitutional.”
4.08 pm: “The entire North East is burning,” Ghulam Nabi Azad adds, according to PTI. “There is not even a single state in the North East which is not burning. We wanted to say this. And the government’s claim that they have given some concession to the northeast is wrong as it has not given any concessions.”
4.05 pm: Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad says the Citizenship Amendment Bill passed by the Parliament is unconstitutional, PTI reports.
“By imposing Section 144 [restricting assembly of four or more people], curfew and ordering lathi-charge, and not allowing people to speak out, you are killing them,” Azad says, in reference to the situation in Assam. “Do assurances really matter thereafter? It is same as what has happened with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. What is happening in the northeastern states is a repeat of what has happened in J&K.”
4 pm: The Centre and the state government are “resolutely committed to protect the identity, rights, heritage and culture of the Assamese people”, he says. “My appeal to all, let us together continue on the path of progress and keep alive our ancient values of peace, harmony and brotherhood.”
3.57 pm: “I sincerely appeal to all sections of people of Assam to maintain peace and tranquility,” Sonowal reiterates. “It’s our cultural, social and spiritual tradition. I’ve firm belief that people of Assam, as usual, will maintain peace for all time to come.”
3.55 pm: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal claims some people are trying to aggravate the situation by “spreading misinformation and misleading people” by saying that 10 million to 15 million people are going to take citizenship in Assam, ANI reports. “It’s false propaganda,” he says.
2.55 pm: Internet services in Assam will be suspended for another 48 hours from Thursday noon, PTI reports.
2.53 pm: Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momin cancels his plan to visit India between December 12 and December 14, ANI reports.
2.33 pm: Samujjal Bhattacharya of All Assam Students’ Union urges protestors to avoid violence. “The Indian state has broken our trust,” he says. The students are expected to observe a hunger strike from Friday.
2.25 pm: Deepak Kumar removed as Guwahati police commissioner, PTI reports. Munna Prasad Gupta will take over as the new chief.
2.20 pm: Assam transfers Additional General of Police (Law and Order) Mukesh Agarwal and appoints GP Singh in his place, PTI reports. Singh was earlier in Delhi with the National Investigation Agency, according to Firstpost. Agarwal has been posted as the ADGP (CID).
2.05 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will hold a meeting with Trinamool Congress leaders in December 20 to discuss the National Register of Citizens and the amendments to the Citizenship Act, ANI reports.
2 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi claims the Congress is attempting to fuel tensions in the North East. “Most of the region is out of the ambit of this bill but politics of Congress and its allies depends on illegal immigrants,” the prime minister says at an election rally in Dhanbad, Jharkhand.
1.29 pm: Protesters burn tyres on roads in Guwahati, Firstpost reports. The reports also alleges that policemen have been hitting women protestors.
1.25 pm: The offices of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Asom Gana Parishad attacked in Assam’s Majuli district, Firstpost reports.
1.09 pm: Thousands of people defy curfew to gather at Latasil Ground in Guwahati.
12.52 pm: “At a time when the BJP is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi with such fanfare, they are also bringing a discriminatory bill that is hurting the soul of the Constitution,” Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra says in a tweet. “The Congress will fight the divisive agenda of the BJP with all its strength.”
12.44 pm: Meanwhile, in Parliament, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi claims the Congress is instigating violence in the North East, PTI reports.
12.38 pm: Bharatiya Janata Party MP Kiren Rijiju attacks Congress MP Rahul Gandhi’s statement calling the amendments to the CItizenship Act an attempt to “ethnically cleanse” the North East.
“No, Rahul Gandhi, all the refugees were settled in our protected areas by your Congress Party violating the laws,” Rijiju says. “All illegal migrants entered North-East due to Congress policy. Your blunders are corrected. Now, refugees can’t become local/ ST citizens in our protected land!”
12.32 pm: Thousands of people defy curfew in Guwahati, NDTV reports.
12.28 pm: Police personnel open fire at protestors in Assam’s Lalung Gaon area, reports Firstpost. Four people were injured, and one of them is in a serious condition, the report says.
12.26 pm: Protestors burn an effigy of Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in Guwahati, Firstpost reports. One of the protestors reportedly alleged that he has turned Assam into Kashmir.
12.21 pm: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal asks people to maintain peace “and not get misled”, ANI reports.
12.18 pm: The Congress mocks Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message to the people of Assam. “Our brothers and sisters in Assam cannot read your ‘reassuring’ message Modiji, in case you’ve forgotten, their internet has been cut off,” the party says.
Earlier in the day, Modi wrote: “I want to assure my brothers and sisters of Assam that they have nothing to worry after the passing of CAB. I want to assure them – no one can take away your rights, unique identity and beautiful culture. It will continue to flourish and grow.”
12.12 pm: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) says the BJP-led Centre’s motive behind the Citizenship Bill is “to ensure Bangladeshi Hindu migrants in Assam could get citizenship but not Muslim migrants”, PTI reports.
12.09 pm: The amendments to the Citizenship Act are “completely unconstitutional” and headed towards the Supreme Court, senior Congress leader Manish Tewari says, according to PTI.
“It is definitely being challenged [in the Supreme Court] and I personally know of at least 10 different groups in the North East who have approached our law offices to challenge the Bill. It is headed to the Supreme Court.”
12.06 pm: Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region Jitendra Singh claims Congress leader Rahul Gandhi made “misleading statements” that tend to “fish in troubled waters of Brahmaputra” and were ‘trying to seek crutches of some disgruntled elements to revive their fortune”, ANI reports.
12.03 pm: Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien gives a zero hour notice in the Rajya Sabha to discuss an advisory by the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry to private TV channels, ANI reports. The advisory, issued on Wednesday, had asked the channels to desist from broadcasting content that could incite violence or cause law and order problems.
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12.02 pm: A first information report has been filed against 20 named and 500 unidentified students of the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh after they allegedly protested against the amendments to the Citizenship Act, according to PTI.
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11.55 am: Ram Madhav adds that the amendments will give “great relief to millions of refugees who came to India decades ago and are living here as stateless people”, ANI reports
11.50 am: BJP National General Secretary Ram Madhav says the situation in Assam “will be effectively monitored and controlled by the state”. He urges the people of Assam to “not fall prey to the propaganda that is being done by some vested interests”, according to ANI.
11.47 am: Left parties announce a nation-wide protest against the Citizenship Act and the National Register of Citizens on December 19, ANI reports.
11.45 am: Five columns of the Indian Army have been deployed in Assam, NDTV reports. Three columns of the Assam Rifles have been deployed in Tripura. Each column consists of 70 soldiers.
11.28 am: Indian Super League match between Northeast United FC and Chennaiyin FC postponed due to the unrest in Guwahati, says Football Sports Development Limited, according to ANI.
11.25 am: BJP MP from Dibrugarh Rameshwar Teli urges the people of Assam to maintain peace. “I am an Assamese, I will not do anything that may hurt the people of Assam,” he tells ANI. “I want to assure everyone that Citizenship Amendment Bill that has been passed will not affect the culture & language of Assam.”
11.20 am: Meanwhile, in the Lok Sabha, Congress MPs Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, K Suresh, Gaurav Gogoi, Manicka Tagore and Abdul Khaleque submit adjournment motion notices over the unrest in northeastern states, ANI reports.
11.10 am: Twelve companies of the Railway Protection Special Force dispatched to North East regions on Wednesday night, PTI reports.
11.08 am: Passengers stranded in Guwahati and Kamakhya after some long-distance trains were stopped at Guwahati, PTI reports, citing the North East Frontier Railway.
11.05 am: Passenger train services in Assam and Tripura suspended due to the protests, PTI reports.
11 am: Senior advocate and Congress leader Kapil Sibal will represent IUML in the Supreme Court. The party has challenged the constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
10.55 am: The Indian Union Muslim League moves the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019. The bill was passed in Parliament this week following lengthy debates and amid protests in the North East. The bill explicitly excludes Muslims from three neighbouring countries from applying for Indian citizenship.
10.50 am: “This is for information of all concerned that due to unavoidable circumstances all examinations of Dibrugarh University, scheduled to be held on December 12, 13 and 14, have been postponed. Fresh dates for the postponed examinations will be notified soon,” the Dibrugarh University said in its notification.
“Due to unavoidable circumstances, the undergraduate third, undergraduate first, postgraduate third, postgraduate first semester and higher secondary second year pre-final examinations, scheduled to be held from December 11 to 14, have been postponed until further notice,” Cotton University said. “It is also hereby informed that the rest of the examinations shall be held as per schedule from December 16.”
10.45 am: Gauhati University, Cotton University and Dibrugarh University have postponed examinations, reports The Telegraph.
“All examinations of MA, MSc, MBA, LLM, MTech, BA, BSc, BCom, BE, BTech, LLB, BA LLB and MCom courses, scheduled up to December 16, have been postponed owing to unavoidable reasons. The rescheduled dates will be notified separately,” the Gauhati University said in its notification. About 350 colleges are affiliated to the university.
10.40 am: Twenty students and a journalist were injured in Dibrugarh on Wednesday when the police caned protestors in Bokel, Assam Tribune reports. The protestors blocked NH 37 and pelted stones at the police, the report says. The police then fired rubber bullets and threw tear gas shells at protestors.
10.35 am: The Board of Control for Cricket in India suspends Ranji Trophy matches in Assam and Tripura, PTI reports.
10.30 am: Five Army columns deployed in Assam and three Assam Rifles columns in Tripura, reports ANI.
10.20 am: Modi is referring to Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, the agreement that Assamese nationalists signed in 1985 with the Centre. It brought to an end a six-year-long, often violent, anti-immigrant movement, that was sparked by anxieties over fresh migration into Assam in the aftermath of the Bangladesh War of 1971.
Using the war as the cut-off, the Accord defined anyone who came before the midnight of March 24, 1971 as an Indian citizen in Assam. Meanwhile, Clause 6 of the agreement promised “constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people”. But it did not define “Assamese people”.
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10.18 am: “The Central Government and I are totally committed to constitutionally safeguard the political, linguistic, cultural and land rights of the Assamese people as per the spirit of Clause 6,” Modi adds.
10.15 am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweets about the situation in the North East. “I want to assure my brothers and sisters of Assam that they have nothing to worry after the passing of CAB,” he writes. “I want to assure them – no one can take away your rights, unique identity and beautiful culture. It will continue to flourish and grow.”
10.13 am: Flights to and from Dibrugarh cancelled, ANI reports.
9.50 am: Meanwhile, the Indian Union Muslim League is expected to approach the Supreme Court against the bill, ANI reports.
9.30 am: The All Assam Students’ Union calls for a protest at 11 am in Guwahati.
9.20 am: Early this morning, the Army conducted a flag march in the Guwahati, according to PTI. “Curfew is on till further orders, We are monitoring the situation very closely. So far the situation is under control,” Assam Police Additional Director General (Law and Order) Mukesh Agrawal says.
9.10 am: People defy curfew in Guwahati, PTI reports. Several people were out in the night despite the curfew. Vehicles remained stranded on Monday due to heavy blockades.
The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti urges people to come out on roads for a peaceful protest.
8.40 am: In Tripura, the Joint Movement Against Citizenship Amendment Bill called off its indefinite strike against the draft law on Wednesday after being assured of a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The protest was discontinued after a meeting between the group’s representatives and Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb.
The Joint Movement Against Citizenship Amendment Bill is an umbrella body of tribal and indigenous groups in Tripura. “The chief minister assured us that he will arrange a meeting with the Union home minister at the earliest to share our concern over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill,” senior tribal leader of the group BK Hrangkhawl told PTI. “We are happy with the promise.”
8.30 am: Army Public Relations Officer Lieutenant Colonel P Khongsai said that two groups of soldiers had been deployed in Guwahati and were carrying out flag marches, according to News18. The Assam government suspended mobile internet in ten districts, including the state capital, for 24 hours starting 7 pm Wednesday.
In Guwahati, visuals on Wednesday showed protestors burning billboards with pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Chief Minister Sonowal, flying in from Tezpur, was stranded at the Guwahati airport for hours because of the protests.
8.20 am: A curfew was also imposed in Dibrugarh district as demonstrators vandalised Chabua and Panitola railway stations and started fires, ANI reported. Deputy Commissioner Pallav Gopal Jha said that the curfew was imposed on Wednesday night and will remain until further orders.
8.15 am: Stones were pelted at Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s residence in Dibrugarh, and protestors also vandalised the homes of Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Prasanta Phukan, party leader Subhash Dutta in the district, the police said. Union minister Rameswar Teli’s house in the state’s Duliajan town was also attacked on Wednesday night. The office of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in Dibrugarh was also set on fire by protestors, according to Asian Age.
8.10 am: Assam Police Additional Director General (Law and Order) Mukesh Agrawal confirmed that the restrictions imposed in Guwahati at 6.15 pm was extended until further notification. “We will periodically review the situation and take the decision to lift it accordingly,” he said.
8 am: The Assam Police on Wednesday extended the curfew in Guwahati for an indefinite period as protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act intensified, PTI reported. The contentious bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday with 125 votes in support, while 105 MPs voted against it.
The act proposes amendments to a 1955 law to provide citizenship to persecuted Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from the Muslim-majority nations of Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Once notified, it will grant citizenship to persecuted people from these communities, provided they have resided in India for six years. The cut-off date is December 31, 2014.