Guwahati, February 7: Movement of trains was affected in Assam on Thursday morning as members of a youth organisation blocked rail tracks, demanding immediate revocation of the citizenship bill and introduction of inner line permit (ILP) in the state.
With banners and placards in hand, the members of Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) squatted on the tracks for about an hour in several districts of the state, including Guwahati, Sivasagar, Charaideo, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Nalbari and Udalguri, police sources said.
Slogans such as ‘Joi Aai Asom’ (Victory to mother Assam), ‘Scrap the Citizenship Bill’ and ‘Introduce inner line permit’ rented the air as agitators sought measures to repeal the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which was recently passed by the Lok Sabha.
The legislation, which is currently waiting for Rajya Sabha approval, seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India.
In Guwahati, the AJYCP picketers blocked the railway level crossing near Kamakhya station, preventing movement of Shatabdi Express, a senior police officer said.
It was only after the police cleared the tracks and dispersed the crowd, the train could resume its service, he added.
In Udalguri, the agitators staged a semi-nude protest against the Bill and blocked train tracks for about 30 minutes, official sources said.
The AJYCP units of twin districts of Sivasagar and Charaideo also halted the Awadh-Assam Express at Simaluguri railway junction.
Similar protests were witnessed at Biswanath Chariali and Tinsukia districts.
At Numaligarh oil town in Golaghat, the agitators came out in large numbers to block National Highway-39 at Rongbong, Letekujan and Panka areas.
A massive protest meeting was also organized by All Assam Students Union (AASU) and 30 allied ethnic groups on Thursday at Naharkatia in Dibrugarh, demanding the withdrawal of the legislation.
Protests against the bill have rocked the entire northeast over the past six weeks, with several organisations and political parties claiming that the bill threatens the identity, language and culture of indigenous people.
In the state, the agitators have reasoned that the legislation contradicts the Assam Accord of 1985, which clearly states that illegal migrants who entered India after March 25, 1971, would be deported irrespective of their religions.(PTI)