GUWAHATI: The death toll in Assam in the violence surrounding the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which has now become the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, has risen to five.
Ishwar Nayak, who sustained bullet injuries during the violence in Guwahati, succumbed to his wounds at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital. The 25-year-old was an employee of a shopping mall.
Another person, who sustained burn injuries after his oil tanker was set on fire by a six-member gang of miscreants on Friday night, succumbed to his injuries at a private hospital in Guwahati.
Abdul Halim, who had sustained bullet injuries at Lalung gaon three days ago, during the violence, also succumbed to his injuries today at the Gauhati Medical College and hospital.
Tanker driver Azizul Haque, employed at a petrol station, was driving to Numaligarh in Golaghat district to fetch fuel when the miscreants, who came riding three two-wheelers, hurled a petrol bomb at the tanker at Orang in Darrang district. The vehicle immediately caught fire and later on being informed by the locals, the police rushed Haque and the vehicle’s handyman Muslimuddin Ahmed to Guwahati.
Earlier, two young people, including a Class X student, were killed in police firing during the violence in Guwahati.
Curfew imposed on Guwahati and parts of Dibrugarh district in the wake of the violent protests was relaxed on Sunday for several hours, police said.
Special trains have been arranged by the Assam tourism department in association with the railways to ferry passengers stranded in various parts of the state.
According to an official, curfew has been relaxed from 9 am to 6 pm in Guwahati.
In Dibrugarh west, Naharkatia, Tenughat areas, it has been relaxed from 7 am to 4 pm.
Six flights, however, had to be cancelled, including one to Paro in Bhutan, in view of the law-and-order situation, an official of Airports Authority of India in Guwahati said.
Long queues were seen outside grocery shops at several places, including Dispur, Uzan Bazar, Chandmari, Silpukhuri and Zoo Road in Guwahati town.
Meanwhile, over 100 people were arrested and 2,000 others detained by the police in connection with the various incidents of violence. The state’s Director General of Police, Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, said criminals and anti-social elements had “infiltrated” into the agitation and perpetrated violent acts. He said the police were in the process of examining the videos of the incidents to identify the culprits.
“We are taking all precautionary measures to ensure that the criminals and the elements cannot take law into their hands. Peace is returning to the state. Altogether 55 policemen were injured and 25 people sustained bullet and rubber bullet injuries in the incidents,” Mahanta said.
He said the Centre had rushed 55 companies of the central paramilitary forces to Assam in the wake of the violence.
Sources said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had registered a case against RTI activist Akhil Gogoi, who is also the leader of peasants’ body Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti. Arrested two days ago by the police, he faces the charge of instigating the violence.
In Guwahati, the artists are staging a protest demonstration against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Hundreds of people gathered at the site. The All Assam Students’ Union will stage a three-day “satyagraha” from Monday with the slogan “repeal Citizenship (Amendment) Act or arrest us”.
Auto-rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws were plying across the city since morning.
Petrol pumps have also opened with vehicles waiting in lines to refuel.
Police were using loudspeakers to inform the public about the relaxation.
Meanwhile, members of the Guwahati unit of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) held demonstrations outside party headquarters in Ambari area, demanding the resignation of three ministers, including party president Atul Bora.
AGP members in Parliament had voted in favour of the contentious bill.
Students' organisations AASU and AJYCP also took out rallies across the state, seeking revocation of the law.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal will lead a delegation of his BJP and allies Asom Gana Parishad and Bodoland People’s Front to Delhi and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Another all-party delegation, led by Assembly Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami, is likely to go to Delhi to meet the Central leaders.
Sonowal on Saturday had said that the restive situation was created by elements who spread rumours and scared people into believing that 1.2 crore to 2 crore non-Muslims would migrate to Assam from Bangladesh. He said only a small number of the immigrants, who have been settled in the state for years, would be able to register for citizenship. He said the government would give figures of the immigrants who would benefit. He appealed to the people to maintain peace and cooperate with the government.
The immigrants belonging to six non-Muslim religious groups, who entered Assam till December 31, 2014, will be eligible for citizenship under the new citizenship law.