GUWAHATI: The situation in Assam continued to remain tense with people protesting against the Citizenship Act defying the indefinite curfew in various parts, including Guwahati and Dibrugarh, to participate in agitations, while internet services remained suspended and the Army continued to assist the civil administration in restoring normalcy.
No clashes between security personnel and protesters were reported in the city. However, sporadic incidents of road blockades in the city were reported in the morning.
The transportation sector continued to be hit, with no buses plying in most parts of eastern, central and northern parts of the state, and nearly 39 trains cancelled for the next two-three days.
In Guwahati, thousands of people from all walks of life defied the curfew to join demonstrations organised by the All Assam Students' Union (AASU). The students' body also announced that they will hold a three-day satyagraha against the Act beginning on Dec 16.
A total of eight columns of the Army and Assam Rifles have been deployed in Assam, including capital Guwahati to control the ongoing violent protests.
Defence Public Relation Officer Lt Col P Khongsai said the Army and Assam Rifles were requisitioned by the civil administration in Morigaon, Sonitpur and Dibrugarh districts besides Guwahati to arrest the deteriorating law and order situation.
The Army was called out on Wednesday as the protestors turned violent over the Bill.
"Till now, a total of eight columns have been requisitioned which include one in Bongaigaon, one in Morigaon, four columns in Guwahati and two in Sonitpur," he said.
Each column of the force comprises of around 70 personnel.
All Army and Assam Rifles columns have managed to restore normalcy in the areas they were deployed and have been continuously working to aid the civil administration, Khongsai added.
In a statement, AASU said that it will move the Supreme Court against the Citizenship Act.
Assam Sahitya Sabha, the highest literary body of the state, and the Assam Public Works (APW), the original petitioner in the Supreme Court which led to the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) six years ago, echoed the AASU saying they will also move the apex court against the Act.
AASU said its committees will meet at the local levels to chart out local agitations. From December 16 to 18, 'satyagrahas' will be staged in front of all local government offices across the state.
The members of the students' body will join a protest through musical ways, planned by the artists' fraternity, at Guwahati on December 15.
In Dibrugarh, curfew was relaxed for five hours till 1 pm to enable the people to procure essential items. Similarly, curfew was also relaxed for several hours under Tezpur and Dhekiajuli police station areas in the northern part of the state.
Tinsukia and Jorhat continued to remain under night curfew, and the Army was assisting the civil administration in all the curfew-bound parts as well as a few other places in restoring law and order.
Internet services continued to remain suspended since the evening of December 11.
In view of the prevailing situation, the state government has set up emergency Help Desk Numbers for all concerned, an official statement said here today.
The State Emergency Operation Centre (Toll-Free No: 1079 and Mobile No: 94010-44617) and the District Emergency Operation Centre situated at D.C. Office, Kamrup (Metro) toll-free No: 1077, Tel No: 0361-2733052 may be contacted during an emergency.
The government has also arranged bus services for stranded passengers from different railway stations.
Meanwhile, food packets, drinking water and medicines are being distributed to stranded passengers at the LGBI Airport, Railway Station at Paltan Bazar and Kamakhya and ISBT at Guwahati.
Assam has been opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, (CAB) that seeks to grant Indian citizenship to illegal Hindu, Parsi, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Christian migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, who had entered India prior to December 31, 2014, without any documents.
The Bill has already been notified by the government after both the Houses of the Parliament passed it earlier this week.
However, people of North Eastern states, especially Assam and Tripura, are demanding its revocation as they fear being 'overrun' by non-Muslims from neighbouring Bangladesh.
(With agency inputs)