Union Home Minister Amit Shah met delegations of the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura – the Bharatiya Janata Party’s ally in Tripura – and an outfit called Joint Movement Against CAB on Thursday night to discuss their concerns about the amended Citizenship Act as protests escalated in various parts of the North East.
Two people were killed in Assam and 21 were injured as demands to withdraw the changes to the 1955 law were raised. The widespread fear in the North East is that populations defined as indigenous to the region will be culturally and physically overrun by migrants as a result of these changes.
“Modi government will try to solve their issues in a positive way,” Shah tweeted. “I thank them for their appeal to maintain peace and call off the strike.”
The home minister also met Kirit Pradyot Deb Barman, the head of the Tripura royal family, and Tripura People’s Front President Patal Kanya Jamatia. Though there were no details of what was discussed, Deb Barman tweeted that he had told the home minister that the amendments would be challenged in Supreme Court, ruling out any compromise. “No retreat, no surrender!” he posted on social media.
Earlier in the day, the prime minister had assured the people of the state that they had nothing to worry about. “I want to assure them – no one can take away your rights, unique identity and beautiful culture. It will continue to flourish and grow,” he said.
However, protestors defied the curfew and took to the streets to voice their opposition. In Guwahati, thousands of people gathered at Latasil Ground despite the curbs imposed. According to reports, at least 300 protestors, including activist Akhil Gogoi, were detained. Protestors set ablaze a bus terminus of the State Transport Corporation in Dibrugarh, while there were reports of protestors attacking Handloom Minister Ranjit Dutta’s home in Behali in Sonitpur district. According to PTI, Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Binod Hazarika’s home in Chabua town in Dibrugarh district was set ablaze. The protests also disrupted flight and train services.