A railway station complex in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district was set on fire on Friday as hundreds protested against the amended Citizenship Act, PTI reported. Railway Protection Force personnel deputed at the Beldanga station were also beaten up by demonstrators, officials said.
“The protestors all of a sudden entered the railway station complex and set the platform, two-three buildings and railway offices on fire,” an unidentified senior RPF official said. “When RPF personnel tried to stop them, they were brutally beaten up. Train services have come to a halt here.”
West Bengal’s Murshidabad district borders Bangladesh.
Protestors also blocked railway tracks at the Uluberia station in Howrah district and vandalised a few trains and the premises. A driver has reportedly been injured in the protests, according to NDTV. Agitators in Kolkata disrupted traffic for several hours at the Park Circus area and protested near the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport.
The bill, which has now become law, makes undocumented non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India before December 31, 2014, eligible for Indian citizenship. It also eased citizenship criteria for documented migrants belonging to certain groups, specifically excluding Muslims.
Bharatiya Janata Party General Secretary Sayantan Basu’s vehicle was attacked in the state’s East Midnapore district. Police officials later reached the site to rescue him. The saffron party’s chief Kailash Vijayvargiya blamed the state administration for the violence.
Peaceful protests against the amendments to the Citizenship Act were witnessed in Arambagh town of Hooghly district, and the districts of West Midnapur, North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas, according to India Today.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has reportedly appealed for calm and reviewed the situation. The chief minister has also announced a mega rally in Kolkata against amendments made to the Citizenship Act on Monday.
The protests that began in parts of the North East extended to several parts of the country including Delhi, Tamil Nadu, and Bihar.