Protests against Citizenship Bill rock Assam

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Guwahati, January 9: Widespread protests against the Citizenship Bill continued in Assam Wednesday with agitators blocking roads and marching with their clothes off in several parts of the state.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 that seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangaldesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan was passed by the Lok Sabha Tuesday.
Agitators across the Northeast, including Assam, have been blocking roads and rail tracks, seeking revocation of the Bill.
In Guwahati, members of 70 organisations, led by Akhil Gogoi’s Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad, protested outside central government offices and also tried way through the barricades to the state secretariat, leading to a scuffle with police.
“Police had to resort to mild lathicharge and fire rubber bullets to disperse the protesters who refused to move back despite warnings. Some of them were also taken into custody to prevent deterioration in law and order situation,” a senior officer said.
In Golaghat’s Numaligarh area, members of Asom Aikya Manch took to the streets with their clothes off to protest against the Bill.
At Digboi, the agitators tried to block a highway to stop Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal from attending Gorkha Mahatsov. They were, however, dispersed by the police.
AASU activists in Nagaon waved black flags to BJP state unit president Ranjeet Das.
Protests by students were also reported from Cotton State University and Dibrugarh University.
An 11-hour shutdown was called by AASU and NESO, and supported by over hundred organisations Tuesday, bringing life to a standstill in Assam.
The agitators have said they would not allow locally produced oil, petroleum products, coal, forest products and limestone to be taken out of the state.
Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which withdrew support to the BJP-led government in Assam Monday, also extended its support to the bandh.
BJP spokesperson Mehdi Alam Bora resigned from the party, saying the Bill would harm the Assamese society and nullify the Assam Accord.
Former Assam chief minister and AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta demanded that the BJP government in the state resign and face a fresh election.
State minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, however, said the AGP had committed a “historic blunder” by not extending support to the Bill. (PTI)