Guwahati, December 9
The 48-hour Assam bandh called by the All Moran Students’ Union (AMSU) to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and granting of Scheduled Tribe status to six communities on Monday affected normal life in several districts in the first day, officials said.
Shops, markets and financial institutions kept their shutters down, while schools and colleges were closed in the Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Majuli, Morigaon, Bongaigaon, Udalguri, Kokrajhar and Baksa districts after the bandh began at 5 am.
The bandh evoked no impact in Bengali dominated Barak Valley districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi as well as the hill districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao, officials said.
The impact of the bandh was negligible in Guwahati.
Private offices were closed in the bandh-hit areas and attendance in government offices was thin, they added.
In many places, protestors burnt tyres and blocked national highways but the police swung into action and cleared the roads. Some state-run long distance buses plied with police escort, they said.
The police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse a group of agitators who clashed with police personnel in Dibrugarh and Guwahati while trying to stop movement of vehicles.
Foreign and domestic tourists in rhino-habitat Kaziranga National Park and Jorhat were stranded due to the bandh with no public transport available for their travel to Guwahati to board flights and trains.
The protestors in many places also took out ‘funeral processions’ of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal for his alleged failure to oppose the CAB, which they claimed would threaten the existence and language of the indigenous people.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan if they faced religious persecution there.
They will be given Indian citizenship after residing in the country for five years, instead of 11 years which is the current rule.
Besides protesting against the CAB, the AMSU’s bandh was called to press for its demand for granting of Scheduled Tribe status to Moran and five other communities —Tai Ahom, Koch Rajbongshi, Chutia, Tea Tribes and Matak—of the state.
The North East Students Organisation (NESO), the apex body of all the student bodies of the region, has called an 11-hour Northeast bandh on Tuesday. Nagaland, where the Hornbill Festival is going on, has been exempted from the purview of the shutdown.
Left-democratic organisations also called a 12-hour Assam bandh on Tuesday. PTI
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