Guwahati, Dec 10: Spontaneous supporters of the 11-hour North East Students Organisation (NESO)-called North East region shutdown against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) came out in hundreds in different parts of Guwahati, the main city of Assam as well as the ‘gateway to NE’, virtually laying siege at several vantage points.
Police had to resort to baton charge at different locations of the city, while the bandh supporters and general public attempted to gherao the state secretariat at Dispur and Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) headquarter at Maligaon. At least one protestor and two policemen were injured in sporadic incidents during the protests.
The bandh supporters blocked several roads of the city, including NH 37 passing through Basistha area, since morning and burnt tyres at multiple places, including at Zoo Road, Pandu, Maligaon, Basistha, Hatigaon, Jalukbari and Ganeshguri. The main gate of Guwahati Lok Sabha MP Queen Ojha was allegedly breached by AASU members, who entered the compound and burnt an effigy of the BJP leader, who is away in New Delhi for the Lok Sabha session.
Protestors also staged a demonstration in front of influential state Cabinet minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sharma in the afternoon, after waving black flags at his convoy earlier in the day. Two other Cabinet ministers, Keshav Mahanta and Siddhartha Bhattacharyya, and the Media Advisor to the CM, Hrishikesh Goswami, also had to face public ire and change their routes to avoid being blocked by the people.
The DGP (in-charge), Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta, was forced to return from the GS Road as picketers blocked his route. Sporadic incidents of violence were also reported in the city, including at Hatigaon where protestors torched a scooter and in another incident, a state-run bus, ferrying passengers to a government programme, was damaged.
AASU activists staged a demonstration in front of the NFR headquarter in Maligaon area. Protestors attempted to gherao the state secretariat at Dispur from different sides, but were met with police resistance. Police had to baton charge near Super Market and Ganeshguri points to ensure that the protestors do not reach the secretariat gate, while at Last Gate point, the picketers sat on a demonstration.
All business establishments and educational institutions also remained closed in the city, while vehicles kept off the roads in view of the 11-hour shutdown called by NESO, a joint platform of students organizations of NE, with All Assam Students Union (AASU) also being a member. Assam as well as NE region has been opposing the CAB, which seeks to grant Indian citizenship to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi, Jain and Christian refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who came to India prior to December 31, 2004.
The protestors have been claiming that it will change the demographic pattern of the state as well as NE region. The CAB was passed in the Lok Sabha last night and is scheduled to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow. (UNI)