Normal life hit by Assam bandh; Govt suspends NRC update

Guwahati: Violence erupted in minority- dominated areas in lower Assam during a statewide bandh called to protest the death of four students in police firing as the government temporarily suspended update of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) which led to the tension.

Armed protesters attempted to block a road connecting Sonitpur district with upper Assam and fired at the police at Poruwa Chariali area in Tezpur during the 12-hour bandh called by the All Assam Minority Students Union, police said.

Police picked up bandh supporters who attempted to close shops at Baruah Chowk and Garowaripatty areas in Tezpur.

The army was alerted to assist the administration in minority-dominated areas in Sonitpur if the situation worsened, officials said.

In Barpeta district, where the four students were killed yesterday while demanding a halt to the update of NRC, agitators beat up people at Goremari Bazar area, locals alleged.

In Morigaon district, AAMSU activists burnt tyres blocking a road leading to Nagaon district, police said.

The Assam government announced temporary suspension of updating of the NRC.

The AAMSU was opposing the update process fearing that names of genuine Indian citizens would be deleted from the NRC.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said the decision to suspend the process would be be reviewed soon.

Gogoi also ordered a magisterial inquiry into yesterday's firing.

Senior Minister Bhumidhar Barman, who visited the spot during the day, announced payment of Rs three lakh to the families of the dead.

At least four students were killed and 50 injured when the police opened fire on AMSU activists who tried to stop updating of the NRC in Barpeta town.

Meanwhile, the influential All Assam Students Union criticised Gogoi for succumbing to the pressure of minority groups in the interest of the Congress' vote bank.