Protests against the amended Citizenship Act turned violent in Delhi on Sunday evening as the demonstrators clashed with the police.
Five people have died in Assam, which was the epicentre of the protests, over the past week. On Sunday morning, however, Assam and other northeastern states largely remained peaceful. Curfew was relaxed for a few hours in Assam’s Guwahati and Dibrugarh districts, but internet services will remain suspended in the state till Monday.
Internet services were suspended in parts of West Bengal on Sunday. Scattered episodes of violence were reported in Nadia, North 24 Parganas, and Howrah districts of West Bengal for the third consecutive day of protests against the amended law. Five empty trains were set on fire at a railway station in Murshidabad district on Saturday.
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9.26 pm: More than 1,400 people were taken into protective custody in Assam, a senior police officer tells PTI.
9.25 pm: As many as 175 people were arrested in Assam over the past week following the protests, PTI reports.
8.50 pm: The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union calls for a protest outside the Delhi Police Headquarters at 9 pm, News18 reports. “All students and citizens of Delhi are appealed to assemble at Delhi Police Headquarters, ITO at 9 PM tonight to ensure that the undeclared emergency in Jamia is lifted immediately,” JNUSU says.
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8.19 pm: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray claims the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is against the views of Hindutva icon VD Savarkar, PTI reports. Thackeray says at a press conference that matters like the Act are being raised in order to “divert attention” of people from real issues like security of women, unemployment and farm crisis. “Is CAB based on ideology?” he asks. “What about violence which erupted over it?”
8.10 pm: The Congress has urged Assam Governor Jagadish Mukhi to direct the state government to institute a judicial inquiry into the deaths of protestors, PTI reports. The party demands that the inquiry should be carried out by a sitting judge of the Gauhati High Court.
“The inquiry should find out whether a magistrate was present at all the places where firing took place, a clear warning was given before firing commenced, aim was kept low as some victims were reportedly shot in the head or chest, and any other method of crowd-control was tried before firing began,” Leader of Opposition in the Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia writes in his letter to Mukhi.
8.06 pm: But AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan denies the accusations, PTI reports. “Some TV channels have run the news that protesters under my leadership have torched buses, which is wrong,” Khan tells reporters. “I protested near Shaheen Bagh where nothing untoward happened.”
8.03 pm: Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari blames the Aam Aadmi Party for the violence in Delhi. “An AAP MLA is provoking people at the behest of Arvind Kejriwal,” he claims in a tweet. “The Muslims of the country are with India and are not going to be influenced by traitors like you. Stop provoking people. The people of Delhi will teach AAP traitors a lesson. The sin of AAP is being exposed.”
8 pm: Janata Dal (United) National Vice President Prashant Kishor calls the planned nationwide National Register of Citizens exercise “demonetisation of citizenship”. In a tweet, he says: “The idea of nationwide NRC is equivalent to demonetization of citizenship...invalid till you prove it otherwise. “The biggest sufferers would be the poor and the marginalized we know from experience.”
7.52 pm: Jamia Millia Islamia University will be shut till January 6, NDTV reports. It adds that exams have also been postponed.
7.45 pm: BBC journalist Bushra Sheikh says the police took away her phone and broke it while she was on assignment for the international media channel, according to ANI. “A male police personnel pulled my hair. They hit me with a baton and when I asked them for my phone, they hurled abuses at me,” she says.
7.40 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says he spoke to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and urged him to restore normalcy and peace. “We are also doing everything possible at our end,” Kejriwal says. “Real miscreants who caused violence shud [should] be identified and punished.”
7.34 pm: Jamia Millia Islamia University Chief Proctor says the police have “entered the campus by force” and that no permission was given. “Our students are being beaten up and forced to leave the campus,” says Waseem Ahmed Khan, according to ANI.
7.30 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appeals to protestors to abjure violence. “No one shud [should] indulge in violence,” he tweets. “Any kind of violence is unacceptable. Protests shud [should] remain peaceful.”
7.25 pm: A statement issued by the Jamia Teachers’ Association condemns the violence in south Delhi.
“JTA appeals to students, if any, to keep away from such direction-less protest led by local political leaders,” the statement says. “Jamia practices and preaches peace. JTA condemn all sort of violence near Jamia or anywhere in India.”
7.20 pm: Delhi Police detain students of Jamia Millia University, ANI reports.
7.17 pm: The Delhi police went inside the library of Jamia Millia Islamia University and beat up students who were not a part of the protests, reports NDTV. Students have been made to march out of the college with their hands in the air.
7.15 pm: Videos also show the Delhi police firing tear gas shells inside a campus building, scenes of panic and injured students. Many students alleged that the police fired tear gas inside the library after locking them up inside.
7.03 pm: The Delhi Police enter Jamia Millia Islamia campus and blocks university gates, reports PTI.
7 pm: West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar asks people to maintain peace, ANI reports.
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6.50 pm: The Editors Guild of India has sought the withdrawal of an advisory issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on December 12, asking all private television channels to desist from broadcasting content that could incite violence or cause law and order problems, PTI reports.
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6.41 pm: Metro stations of Sukhdev Vihar, Jamia Millia Islamia, Okhla Vihar and Jasola Vihar Shaheen Bagh are closed, ANI reports.
6.04 pm: The Delhi Metro Corporation announces that Sukhdev Vihar metro station will be closed.
6 pm: Assam Pradesh Congress Committee chief Ripun Bora says they will file a writ petition in the Supreme Court, ANI reports.
5.55 pm: Students of the Jamia Millia Islamia University dissociate themselves from the violence, News18 reports. “The students of Jamia Millia Islamia disassociate themselves from the violence that has erupted today,” they say. “We have time and again maintained that our protests are peaceful and non-violent. We stand by this approach and condemn any party involved in the violence.”
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5.42 pm: The Delhi Police use tear gas to disperse protestors, NDTV reports. They also baton-charged the demonstrators.
5.40 pm: Images and videos shared on social media also showed protestors pelting stones at buses in New Friends Colony.
5.22 pm: Videos on social media show buses set on fire in South Delhi’s New Friends Colony area.
5.05 pm: Protestors clash with the police in South Delhi, NDTV reports. Buses were set on fire and traffic movement restricted, it adds.
5 pm: The National Investigation Agency on Saturday booked Assam-based anti-corruption and Right to Information activist Akhil Gogoi under the amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, The Print reports, citing an unidentified senior police officer.
Gogoi was placed under preventive arrest on Thursday for protesting against the amendments to the Citizenship Act, which was passed in both Houses of Parliament earlier in the week. Gogoi, an advisor of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, had staged a sit-in protest outside the Jorhat deputy commissioner’s office, following which he was arrested.
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4.20 pm: Students from Jamia Millia Islamia University protest against the Act in New Delhi. Earlier in the day, students from the northeastern states staged protests at Jantar Mantar an called the amendments anti-constitutional.
3.43 pm: “I congratulate our brothers and sisters in Assam for staying away from those who commit violence,” the prime minister adds, according to NDTV. “They are making their points in a peaceful way.”
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3.41 pm: “Congress and their allies are creating a ruckus. They are doing arson because they did not get their way,” Modi says in Dumka, Jharkhand. “Those who are creating violence can be identified by their clothes itself.”
3.39 pm: “Actions of the Congress prove that all decisions taken in Parliament are correct,” Modi says. He claims that the Opposition does not have a roadmap for the country’s future and that they do not care about people’s problems, according to PTI.
3.38 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi accuses the Congress and its allies of creating ruckus over amendments to the Citizenship Act. “Congress and its allies are stoking fire over the Citizenship Act but people of the North East have rejected violence,” Modi says at an election rally in Dumka, Jharkhand, PTI reports.
3.30 pm: Five people – Abdul Alim, Azizur Ali, Ishwar Nayak, Sam Stafford and Dipanjal Das – have died due to protests in Assam.
Gauhati Medical College and Hospital Superintendent Ramen Talukdar says the 23-year-old Alim, who was from Hongolbari in Barpeta, died of bullet injuries.
Azizur Ali died in Orang after arsonists set fire to the empty fuel tanker that he was driving, according to his relatives.
Ishwar Nayak, was wounded during clashes in Guwahati on Thursday. He was from Udalguri and worked as a salesperson. On the same day, two others – Sam Stafford and Dipanjal Das – were reportedly killed in police firing, The Indian Express reported.
2.30 pm: Union Home Minister Amit Shah says at a rally in Jharkhand that Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has expressed concern about the bill, claiming that there is a problem with implementing it in the state, NDTV reports. “Sangma ji and his colleagues said there is a problem in Meghalaya,” he says. “I tried to make them understand that there is no issue. Yet, they asked me to change something [of the Act]. I asked Sangma-ji to come to me when he is free after Christmas and we can think constructively for a solution for Meghalaya. There is nothing to fear.”
2.15 pm: Internet services have been temporarily suspended in parts of West Bengal due to the ongoing protests against the bill, NDTV reports.
1.58 pm: “It is a matter of concern that the entire Northeast, especially Assam region has been engulfed in violence,” Congress leader AR Chowdhury says. “Assam is recognised as a strategically important place for the country. On one hand, it is Kashmir Valley and on the other, the new Kashmir, Assam.
1.35 pm: Assam Pradesh Congress Committee President Ripun Bora claims that the Asom Gana Parishad approaching the Supreme Court against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is simply an “eyewash”, ANI reports. He alleges that the Asom Gana Parishad is still in league with the BJP.
12.18 pm: “We will fight the bill legally and politically,” Asom Gana Parishad MLA Ramendra Narayan Kalita tells Scroll.in. “This is what the people of Assam wish.” Kalita says it was a mistake to vote in favour of the bill in the Rajya Sabha. “Just because some people erred, we cannot keep sitting now. We will meet the Home Minister and Prime Minister and ask them to keep Assam out of the Act’s purview.”
12.10 pm: Additional Director General of Police RP Kilon tells News18 that no untoward incident has been reported in Nagaland after a six-hour shutdown on Saturday. Schools, colleges, and markets were shut and vehicles remained off the streets in some areas of the state.
12.05 pm: Gauhati Medical College and Hospital Superintendent Ramen Talukdar says a protestor has succumbed to bullet injuries. This takes the toll due to protests to four in Assam. The victim, who has been identified as Ishwar Nayak, was wounded during clashes in Guwahati on Thursday. On the same day, two others – Sam Stafford and Dipanjal Das – were reportedly killed in police firing, The Indian Express reported.
10.38 am: The administration of Jamia Milia Islamia University clarifies that a large group of locals were part of the protests against the amended law. “Demonstration was not held in university campus nor was it protest of Jamia,” the varsity’s Public Relations Officer Ahmad Azeem tells ANI. “We held talks with students, now they are protesting peacefully.”
10.31 am: Scattered episodes of violence in Nadia, North 24 Parganas, and Howrah districts of West Bengal, police tell PTI. Agitators block several important roads in Amdanga and Kalyani areas of North 24 Parganas and Nadia districts. Officials claim protestors are blocking railway tracks in certain parts of the districts.
10.24 am: The Assamese community in Pune has said they will not protest on Sunday after the police rescinded their permission for the demonstration.
10.15 am: Police say curfew imposed in Guwahati and areas of Dibrugarh district has been relaxed on Sunday. In Guwahati, the prohibitory orders are eased between 7 am and 4 pm. Restrictions in Dibrugarh West, Naharkatia, Tenughat, and a few other areas are also relaxed during the same time, reports PTI.
10.12 am: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal releases a video message, says the state government is committed to protect all “genuine Indian citizens”. “I call upon all sections of the society to thwart the elements who are misleading the people on Citizenship Amendment Act and indulging in violence and together continue the growth journey of Assam,” he tweets.
8.50 am: BJP ally Asom Gana Parishad, which supported the amended Citizenship Act, is now opposing it, reports NDTV. They will also approach the Supreme Court over the matter, and party leaders intend to meet PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah regarding the act.
8.30 am: Assam Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta says that 85 people have been arrested in the protests against the amended law. “Incidents of stone-pelting, setting vehicles on fire and attacking life and property have been videographed,” Mahanta says, according to PTI. “We will identify the persons involved and take action against them.”
8.20 am: Head of Tripura’s royal family and the chairperson of Joint Movement Against Citizenship Amendment Bill Kirit Pradyot Deb Barman tells The Indian Express that Tripura has suffered enough. The royal scion, who has moved the Supreme Court against the amended citizenship law, says the state was an example of providing shelter to the persecuted Hindu minority. But the time has come for the rest of the country to take the load and not Tripura,” he adds.
8.15 am: Sonowal urges the public to not be swayed by false information, adds that those involved in propagating violence through misinformation did not want peace and development, The Indian Express reports.
8.13 am: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has said a “very negligible” number of people will gain benefits from the amended Citizenship Act, reports PTI. “The number of people who will apply (for citizenship under the amended Act) will be very negligible,” he says. “We are running the government and we have the data. At an appropriate time, you will be able to know all these clearly.”
8.10 am: Sinha alleges “Bangladeshi Muslim infiltrators are behind the violence and not the peace-loving Muslim community here”. The saffron party’s state unit chief Dilip Ghosh says the West Bengal chief minister has encouraged those indulging in vandalism as her party’s supporters did it when they were a part of the Opposition.
8.08 am: In light of protests in West Bengal, Bharatiya Janata Party National Secretary Rahul Sinha says the party will call for the imposition of President’s Rule in the state if the violence continues. “She [Mamata Banerjee] has done little to contain the spiralling violence which is on for the past two days in the state over the enactment of the Citizenship Amendment Bill,” he told PTI.
8.03 am: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday asked people to maintain calm, adding: “Do not take up law in your hand.”
8 am: Violent protests broke out in West Bengal with railway station complexes being set on fire on Friday and Saturday. Railway Protection Force officials say locals thrashed them when they tried to intervene.