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Citizenship Bill's passage in LS marked by 'bandh' in Assam, other NE states

Press Trust of India  |  Guwahati 

The passing of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill in the on Tuesday was marked by a "bandh", which brought life to a standstill in and had its effect in the other north-eastern states.

The day saw a quitting the party, moments after the bill was passed in the of Parliament, a former demanding the resignation of the BJP-led government and a describing the Asom Gana Parishad's (from the government as a "historic blunder".

The protesters brought life to a standstill and vented their ire at the ruling by gheraoing the houses of Sarbananda Sonowal, and attempting to attack the saffron party's offices in different parts of during the 11-hour "bandh" called by the (AASU).

The protesters stormed the chief minister's personal house in and that of Gogoi's in Sonari during the bandh, which started at 5 am and ended at 4 pm, the police said.

Moments after the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, resigned from the party, saying the bill would harm the Assamese society and nullify the Assam Accord.

The issue brought the (NDA) allies -- the and the AGP -- face-to-face.

Former Assam and AGP demanded that the BJP government in the state resign and face a fresh election as the saffron party's pre-poll alliance with his party was snapped on Monday.

"The BJP-led government was formed in Assam on the basis of a pre-poll alliance with the AGP. As this alliance no longer exists, we demand that the government be dissolved," he said.

said the the AGP had committed a "historic blunder" by not extending support to the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

Mahanta had committed the first blunder by signing the Assam Accord when he was the chief minister and his party made the second "historic blunder" by not extending support to the bill, Sarma, who holds the Finance and Health portfolios, said.

"I am proud of being an Assamese and the BJP is committed to protecting the interest of the indigenous population," the leader, who is regarded as the saffron party's face in the north-east, told reporters here.

"We have to do it on the basis of religion. On the basis of what else can we stop illegal immigration? It is well known that our land has been taken by Muslim migrants and now, we cannot allow anymore encroachment of our assets like the 'sattra' (monasteries) and Kaziranga.

"We are grateful to for the bill and saving 18 Assembly seats in Assam from going into the hands of 'Jinnah' or the AIUDF's (All India United Democratic Front) Badruddin Ajmal," he said.

Assam BJP chief claimed that the AGP leaving the NDA did not matter as the alliance would still get 11 of the 14 seats in the state in the upcoming polls.

The AGP accused Sonowal of not "cooperating" on the bill and not giving due respect to the emotion and interests of the Assamese people.

The three AGP ministers -- (agriculture), Keshab Mahanta (water resources) and Phanibhushan Choudhury (and civil supplies) will tender their resignation and complete the other related formalities on Wednesday.

The "bandh" was by and large peaceful with the police resorting to mild lathicharge to disperse the protesters at some places, of Police Kuladhar Saikia said.

There were attempts to attack BJP offices in Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur and Golaghat, but those were foiled by the security forces.

was among a host of air passengers stranded for hours at airports due to the non-availability of public transport.

Normal life came to a halt in the and was partially hit in the Bengali-majority Barak valley, following a "north-east bandh" called separately by the (NESO) and supported by over 100 organisations to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

The agitators blocked roads and national highways at various places, while picketers squatted on the railway tracks at various places in Guwahati and district, but the movement of trains, including the Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express and the Kolkata-bound Kamrup Express, continued after the GRP removed them from the tracks, railway sources said.

There was no movement of vehicles, including goods-laden trucks, on national highways, following an economic blockade called by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), sources said.

The 11-hour called by the NESO was enforced by its member organisations, including the AASU, the Mizo Zirlai Pawal (MZP), the All Students' Union (AAPSU), the (KSU), the (GSU), the (NSF), the All Students' Union (AMSU) and the (TSF).

In Tripura, seven persons -- a State Rifles personnel and six TSF activists -- were injured at Madhabbari in West district, when the police and paramilitary personnel resorted to lathicharge and opened fire to disperse a group of students who had blocked the Assam-Agartala national highway.

The "bandh" also hit normal life in Arunachal Pradesh, and

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 21:06 IST