Two dead in police firing as violent protests intensify in Assam over Citizenship Bill

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As the violent protests continue against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which has now become an Act, in the northeast, two people were killed in police firing in Assam’s Guwahati on Thursday.

Police and paramilitary reinforcements struggled to control massive crowds of protesters who defied curfews in some areas.

Train and flight services in Assam and Tripura were severely hit on Thursday, and mobile internet services remain snapped in 10 districts of Assam along with Tripura amid indefinite curfew.

Also in Meghalaya, mobile internet and SMS services are blocked for two days, and an indefinite curfew imposed in parts of capital city Shillong.

The Citizenship Bill, now an Act, paves the way for citizenship for refugees (Hindu, Parsi, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Christian refugees) facing religious persecution — excluding Muslims — from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who came to India by December 31, 2014.

Meanwhile, Guwahati Police Commissioner, Deepak Kumar, has been removed amid violent protests against the Citizenship Bill. Munna Prasad Gupta will be the new Guwahati police chief.

As the violent protest intensified, Assam BJP MLA Binod Hazarika’s house was set ablaze by protesters in Chabua, PTI reported. In Guwahati’s Lalung Gaon, police opened fire at protesters, injuring at least four people.

ALSO READ: The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019: Everything you need to know

Besides, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananada Sonowal appealed to people to maintain peace. “I sincerely appeal to all sections of people of Assam to maintain peace and tranquillity. It’s our cultural, social and spiritual tradition. I have firm belief that people of Assam, as usual, will maintain peace for all time to come,” he said.

On the other hand, Bangladesh Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen, who was to land in India Thursday for a three-day visit, has cancelled his trip. However, Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said Momen’s decision was not because of the protests.

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