Protests continued for the second consecutive day in different parts of the country against the amendments to the Citizenship Act on Saturday.
West Bengal turned to be epicentre of protests on Saturday. Five empty trains were set on fire at a railway station in Murshidabad district. Demonstrators continued to block roads and disrupt rail services in different parts of the state.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged people to maintain calm and warned of strict action against those “creating disturbances”. She, however, assured the people of the state that neither the amended legislation nor the National Register of Citizens will be implemented in West Bengal.
In Delhi, scores of people gathered at Jantar Mantar to voice their opposition to the legislation. Meanwhile, the Jamia Milia Islamia University postponed all the examinations that were supposed to be held on Saturday, and declared holiday till January 5, 2020.
Assam and other north eastern states largely remained peaceful. Curfew was relaxed for a few hours in Guwahati and Dibrugarh districts along with Meghalaya’s capital Shillong. Internet services in Assam will remain suspended till December 16 to prevent alleged misuse of social media in disturbing peace and to maintain law and order in the state. A six-hour shutdown was observed in Nagaland.
Here are the top updates of the day:
8.16 pm: The UGC National Eligibility Test for candidates in Assam and Meghalaya has been postponed due to the unrest, reports PTI. The test will be held in other states on Sunday
8.04 pm: National Commission for Protection of Child Rights issues advisory to police chiefs of all states and Union Territories over “misuse of children in protest against Citizenship Amendment Bill, in different parts of the country”.
6.54 pm: Delhi Metro Rail Corporation says entry and exit gates at all stations have been opened, reports ANI.
6.34 pm: Internet services will remain suspended in Assam for another 48 hours.
6.24 pm: Protestors set on fire five empty trains at Krishnapur railway station in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district.
6.16 pm: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation also closes the entry and exit gates at Jamia Millia Islamia metro station after the police advice, reports ANI.
6.15 pm: Assam Director General of Police BJ Mahanta says they have arrested more than 100 people and detained nearly 2,000 people in the last few days. “We have let go those who had just participated in the demonstrations and not indulged in lawlessness,” he tells ANI.
5.48 pm: Assam government employees’ association announces cease work on December 18 to protest against the amended Citizenship Act, reports PTI.
5.31 pm: West Bengal BJP leader Rahul Sinha blames the ruling Trinamool Congress for the violence in the state. “If it continues like this there will be no solution except President’s rule,” he tells ANI. “CM should give message to police that if protesters are seen doing violence, they should be shot.”
5.15 pm: In the wake of protests at Jantar Mantar, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation closes the entry and exit gates at Janpath metro station.
5.10 pm: Fresh violence erupts in various parts of North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal, reports News18.
3.35 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah accuses the Congress of stoking violence in the aftermath of the amended Citizenship Act, reports PTI. Addressing an election rally in Jharkhand, Shah said the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill has caused a “stomach ache” to the opposition party. The BJP president also assures the people of the North East that their culture, language, social identity and political rights will be not be affected.
3.30 pm: Former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha asks citizens to not give any personal information to the authorities as a protest against the amended Citizenship Act. “The most suitable reply of the people of India to CAA and NRC should be not to cooperate with the govt and refuse to share any personal or family information with the authorities. Let them declare all of us as non-citizens,” he tweets.
3.15 pm: Banerjee warns of strict action against those found creating disturbance, reports PTI.
She, however, reiterates that the amended Citizenship Act and the proposed country-wide NRC will not be implemented in West Bengal. “It is my request, don’t create confusion among people,” she adds.
2.59 pm: Jamia Millia Islamia University declares holiday till January 5, 2020, and postpones all examinations, reports PTI.
2.40 pm: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urges people to protest democratically, and not take law in their hands, reports PTI.
2.25 pm: Buses have been torched on Kona Expressway in Howrah and at Sajur crossing in Murshidabad, reports ABP Ananda. Protestors have also blocked roads in Arambagh and Salap in Howrah district, Raghunathganj in Murshidabad and Taki.
2.10 pm: A mob sets on fire a portion of a railway station complex in West Bengal’s Howrah district, reports PTI. Hundreds of people had blocked roads in and around the Sankrail railway station. “Later in the afternoon, they entered the station complex and set the ticket counter on fire,” a senior Railway Protection Force official tells the news agency. “When RPF and railway personnel tried to stop them, they were beaten up.”
1.40 pm: Congress MP from Kerala, TN Prathapan, files a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the amendments to the Citizenship Act, ANI reports.
12.39 pm: The Rashtriya Janata Dal calls for a Bihar bandh on December 21 in protest against the amended Citizenship Act.
11.44 am: The curfew in Shillong has been relaxed from 10 am to 7 pm due to the improved situation, PTI reports.
11.27 am: Jamia Millia Islamia University postpones all semester exams scheduled on Saturday, PTI reports.
11.03 am: Assamese people in Mumbai protest in Azad Maidan, ANI reports.
10.57 am: Train movement is blocked in the Sealdah-Hasnabad section of the Eastern Railway in West Bengal, PTI reports. Protestors are staging sit-in protests on the tracks at Shondaliya and Kakra Mirzapur stations since 6.25 am.
10.55 am: The National Highway 6 in Howrah district’s Domjur area is blocked after protestors set tyres on fire and ransack vehicles, PTI reports.
10.33 am: Road and rail blockades continue in parts of West Bengal. Some violence was reported from Murshidabad and North 24 Parganas districts and rural Howrah, PTI reports.
9.49 am: Schools, colleges and markets are closed in parts of Nagaland due to the six-hour shutdown by Naga Students’ Federation, PTI reports. The organisation condemns the three Naga MPs – Tokheho Yepthomi and KG Kenye from Nagaland and Lorho S Pfoze from Manipur – for voting in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
9.20 am: Curfew relaxed from 8 am to 2 pm in Dibrugarh, Assam, reports ANI.
8.36 am: The United States, the United Kingdom, France and Israel issue travel advisories for India after protests against recent amendments to the Citizenship Act in northeastern states.
8.34 am: The Naga Students’ Federation has called a six-hour bandh from 6 am on Saturday. The students’ body asks its federating units and subordinate bodies in Manipur, Assam and Nagaland to take necessary steps to ensure the shutdown in their jurisdictions, PTI reports.
8.25 am: Curfew has been relaxed in Guwahati from 9 am to 4 pm, reports ANI.
7.55 am: Assam Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta told NDTV on Friday that the state is “on its way to peace”. “Today is a much better day, but we will keep a tight vigil,” he said. “We have our duties in place, and our teams are working tirelessly. It is a tough time, but we are working on it.”
“Today, we decided against keeping a tight leash on the situation,” he said. “People are being allowed to come out and buy household goods.”
Mahanta said internet services will be back once the situation is normal.
7.30 am: Sam Brownback, the United States ambassador at large for international religious freedom, says: “One of India’s great strengths is its Constitution. As a fellow democracy, we respect India’s institutions, but are concerned about the implications of the CAB Bill.”
7.30 am: Maldives Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed tells ANI that the Citizenship Act went through both Houses of India’s Parliament and is India’s internal issue. He says his country has trust in the Indian democracy.
7.15 am: The Northeast Frontier Railway says that special passenger trains are being run to help stranded passengers in Guwahati to reach their destination in Upper Assam, ANI reports.
7.05 am: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday expressed concerns about India’s amended citizenship law, describing it as “fundamentally discriminatory” in nature.
7 am: A railway station complex in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district was set on fire on Friday as hundreds protested against the amended Citizenship Act. Railway Protection Force personnel deputed at the Beldanga station were also beaten up by demonstrators, officials said.
Protestors also blocked railway tracks at the Uluberia station in Howrah district and vandalised a few trains and the premises. 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.