The Meghalaya Police on Friday used tear gas shells and baton-charged protestors who were allegedly pelting stones in front of the Raj Bhavan in Shillong. Thousands of protestors marched towards the Raj Bhavan in the afternoon to protest against the amendments made to the Citizenship Act.
Protests against the contentious legislation spread to other parts of the country such as Delhi, Bihar and Tamil Nadu on Friday.
At least 20 people were reportedly injured in the clashes with the police. Video posted on social media showed thousands of people marching while shouting slogans against the law. Vehicles were set ablaze. Video footage also showed injured protestors being taken to hospitals.
The violence came hours after the curfew imposed in Sadar and Lumdiengjri police station limits of Shillong was relaxed for 12 hours from 10 am. After protests broke out in the city on Thursday, internet and SMS services were blocked for two days across the state.
Meanwhile, reports said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah cancelled his trip to Shillong to visit the North East Police Academy amid the unrest.
The contentious amendment allows citizenship to persecuted people of six communities – but not Muslims – from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, provided they have resided in India for six years. The cut-off date is December 31, 2014. The amendments were approved by both Houses of Parliament this week and were signed into law by President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday night.
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.