Protests against the amended Citizenship Act continued in West Bengal on Monday even as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee appealed for calm, PTI reported. Banerjee led a huge protest rally against the amended law and pledged not to implement it in the state.
Protestors continued to block roads and railway tracks. Police said that 354 people were arrested so far. Agitators blocked thoroughfares in districts such as East Midnapore, Nadia, North 24 Parganas, and Malda, police said.
The National Highway 12 in Nadia district was clogged for several hours as protestors gathered in large numbers. In North 24 Parganas’ Rajarhat area, demonstrators burnt tyres on the Biswa Bangla Sarani. Stones were pelted at police personnel in Howrah district’s Bakra area.
A series of express and local trains were cancelled or rescheduled due to the protests. A railway spokesperson saying that tracks were blocked in the Sealdah-Diamond Harbour and Sealdah-Namkhana sectors. Train services between Tamluk and Haldia section of the South Eastern Railway and the Howrah-Amta section was disrupted for several hours.
Students from the Jadavpur and Presidency universities held separate protest rallies in Kolkata against the alleged police brutality on students of Jamia and Aligarh Muslim University.
Meanwhile, internet services continued to be suspended in several parts of the state, including Howrah, North 24 Parganas, and Malda among others. The state administration asked news organisations to exercise caution while reporting on the violent episodes.
Meanwhile, the state government stopped activities related to the National Population Register – a base document for the National Register of Citizens – on Monday. “All activities regarding the preparation/updation of the National Population Register (NPR) are hereby stayed in West Bengal,” the letter issued by the Census Cell of the Home and Hill Affairs Department read. “No activity regarding NPR may be taken up without prior clearance from the Government of West Bengal.”
The state government’s notice revoked an earlier order on the departments being asked to list out the names of junior officials who will compile the National Population Register, according to The Hindu.