Anti-CAB protests in Bengal turn violent; Internet services suspended in 5 districts

Anti-CAB protests in Bengal turn violent; Internet services suspended in 5 districts

Protesters block a road after setting buses on fire during a demonstration against the Indian governments Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Howrah. AFP photo.

Kolkata, December 15

Reports of violence against the Citizenship Amendment Bill in Nadia, Birbhum, North 24 Parganas and Howrah districts in West Bengal led authorities to suspend Internet services in all five districts, a senior government official said on Sunday.  

The official said that the state government decided to suspend internet services in Malda, Murshidabad, Howrah, North 24 Parganas and parts of South 24 Parganas districts to prevent "rumour-mongering and circulation of fake news", especially on social media.

"Despite several requests, a few communal outfits have been carrying out violent protests. In view of the situation, the administration has decided to temporarily suspend internet services in five districts of the state," the official said.

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported in all five districts, police said on Sunday.

In Amdanga and Kalyani areas of North 24 Parganas and Nadia districts, agitators blocked various thoroughfares, set fire to wooden logs on the streets.

Shops were also ransacked and tyres burnt in Deganga area of North 24 Parganas.

In Nadia, demonstrators blocked Kalyani Express Highway, some of them burning copies of the amended Act. Similar protests were reported from Domjur area of Howrah district, parts of Burdwan and Birbhum, with agitators taking out rallies and shouting slogans against the Narendra Modi government.

Police contingents have been rushed to the troubled areas to control the situation.

Partha Chatterjee, West Bengal education minister

We would appeal to everybody to maintain calm and peace. We can assure you that the law won’t be implemented in Bengal.

Unlike the past two days, however, train movements were smooth in the Howrah-Sealdah and Kharagpur sections, according to reports.

Senior TMC leader and state education minister Partha Chatterjee appealed for peace and assured the protesters that the amended Act would not be implemented in the state.

“We would appeal to everybody to maintain calm and peace. We can assure you that the law won’t be implemented in Bengal,” Chatterjee said.

West Bengal BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu accused the ruling TMC government of doing little to control the control deteriorating law and order situation.

Violent protests against the Citizenship Act have rocked several parts of the state over the past two days with agitators torching buses, railways stations and vandalising public property.

The amended Act has put the entire Northeast region and West Bengal on the boil as people fear that it might exacerbate the problem of illegal immigration.

Muslims across the country apprehend that the move could be a precursor to the country-wide implementation of the National Register for Citizens.

According to the amended Act, non-Muslim refugees, who escaped religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and moved to India before December 31, 2014, will be granted Indian citizenship. PTI

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