New Delhi: At least four people have died since Monday during anti-Citizenship Act protests across Assam. The casualties were reported from Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Guwahati. Owing to the situation, all schools and colleges in the state have been shut till December 22.
Meanwhile, on Saturday curfew has been relaxed in Guwahati from 9 am to 4 pm and in Dibrugarh from 8 am to 2 pm. However, the internet services remain suspended in 10 districts - Lakhimpur, Tinsukia, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Kamrup (metro) and Kamrup.
The protests have severely affected the rail services in the state with the Indian Railways announcing the cancellation, partial cancellation, diversion and rescheduling of trains.
There were no reports of violence from Guwahati on Friday where cultural personalities and civil society members were on fast for 10 hours following a call given by the All Assam Students Union, which is leading the protests. In the morning, the administration relaxed curfew in Guwahati and Dibrugarh, following which shops and markets opened the shutters and people queued up to stock food and other essentials in view of the ongoing protests.
Guwahati has become an epicentre of the anti-Citizenship Act protests, prompting the Assam government to place the city under an indefinite curfew.
To control the deteriorating law and order situation over the Citizenship Act, eight columns of the Indian Army was on Thursday deployed to Assam, as CRPF-BSF personnel Tripura as per the requests made by the governments of the two states.
As of now, the situation appears to be in control. Two control rooms have been set up at Guwahati airport and railway station. Bus services have also been started between six districts and for 30 other locations.
Meanwhile, five senior police officers have been transferred in Kaachar, Shantipur, Karimganj, Majhuli and Lakhimpur.
Amid the protests against the Citizenship Act which has hit normal life drastically in the northeastern states, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had to cancel his visit to Meghalaya capital Shillong where he was scheduled to visit North-Eastern Police Academy (NEPA) on December 15 (Sunday).
The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019, was passed by both Houses of the Parliament earlier this week. It became an Act on Thursday after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent. The law came into effect after its publication in the official gazette late on Thursday night.
The Citizenship Act allows six immigrant communities, barring Muslim, from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh for Indian citizenship. Protesters have expressed concerns that refugees allowed by the Act could endanger the identity and livelihood of indigenous people.
(With agencies inputs)