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NE 'bandh' begins against Citizenship Amendment Bill

Press Trust of India  |  Guwahati 

An 11-hour North East bandh, called by a number of students' organisation and political parties on Tuesday, to protest against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill began amid tight security at 5am.

In Assam, the All (AASU) has called for a state-wide after a gap of 10 years and it is being supported by the (AGP), which withdrew support to the BJP-led government in Assam on Monday, the opposition Congress, the AIUDF, and the (KMSS).

Tyres were burnt on roads at various places in Assam to prevent movement of vehicles. Vehicles were damaged in Guwahati, Tinsukia and districts, police said.

Railway tracks were blocked briefly in Guwahati and district but movement of trains, including that of the Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express, resumed after the GRP removed protestors from the tracks, railway sources said.

Train and flight schedules remained unaffected.

Shops, markets, financial institutions kept their shutters down, educational institutions, private offices remained closed and private vehicles, including long-distance buses, kept off roads in the Brahmaputra valley, police and official sources said.

Attendance in government offices was thin as the employees had difficulty in reaching their workplace in the absence of adequate public transport, the sources said.

A skeleton service of the government-run Assam State Transport Corporation buses were pressed into service.

Several students' bodies of the region have decided to observe the 'bandh' in support of the call given by the (NESO), an umbrella organisation of students' unions, of which the AASU is a constituent.

Thirty ethnic organisations are also supporting the in Assam.

The evoked response in the Bengali-majority also where on January 4, had announced that the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 will be passed as soon as possible in the Parliament as a penance for past injustices.

The bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 to grant Indian citizenship to people from minority communities Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, and after six years of residence in instead of 12 even if they do not possess any proper document.

The AGP and other groups in Assam have said the provisions of the bill will nullify the 1985 Assam Accord, which provides for deportation of all illegal migrants, irrespective of religion, who had entered the state after March, 1971.

Security arrangements were intensified and patrolling by police and paramilitary forces intensified across the state in view of the bandh called by the AASU after ten years.

Assam of Police Kuladhar Saikia said, "District SPs have been instructed to ensure public peace. Appropriate forces have been deployed across the state to prevent any untoward incident. Patrolling has also been intensified at all places."

Meanwhile, member organisations of the NESO in other states such as Mizo Zirlai Pawal (MZP), All Students' Union (AAPSU), (KSU), (GSU), (NSF), All Students Union (AMSU) and (TSF) are also supporting the bandh.

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

First Published: Tue, January 08 2019. 09:55 IST