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Day 4: 3 dead, several injured in police action as Assam defies curfews

Two people died due to bullet injuries after police opened fire on protesters. One of the civilians killed was named as 18-year-old Dipankar Das

Guwahati: On Thursday two persons were killed in police firing in Assam to stop the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill with thousands descending on streets defying curfew as Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised his government was committed to safeguarding their rights.
Many towns and cities were placed under indefinite curfew, including Guwahati, the epicenter of protests, besides Dibrugarh, Tezpur, and Dhekiajuli. Night curfew was imposed in Jorhat, Golaghat, Tinsukia and Charaideo districts, officials said.

The PM Narendra Modi said he personally and the central government is “totally committed to constitutionally safeguard the political, linguistic, cultural and land rights of the Assamese people as per the spirit of Clause 6.” Clause 6 of the Assam Accord guarantees to safeguard local rights, language, and culture.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Guwahati, on Thursday, defying a government-imposed a curfew. There were brutal clashes with special forces and police, who fired teargas as protesters burned cars and tires, pulled down political billboards and setting a bus terminal and two trains alight.

Two people died due to bullet injuries after police opened fire on protesters. One of the civilians killed was named as 18-year-old Dipankar Das.

According to the new legislation, thousands of Hindu, Christian, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan will be allowed to claim Indian citizenship. The government has justified the measure on the grounds that they face religious persecution in their respective countries.

The same does not apply for Muslims, however, and neighboring countries where Muslims are the minority and face persecution such as Myanmar and Sri Lanka have not been included in the CAB.

While the CAB has proved controversial across India, it has been particularly sensitive in Assam. The state has a long argument with immigration from Bangladesh, particularly between 1951 and 1971.

A few months ago national register of citizens (NRC) was carried out in which citizens had to present documents to prove their Assamese ancestry. More than 1.9 million individuals were left off the citizenship list and faced being sent to detention centers.

However, the new legislation means the 1.5 million of the excluded who are Hindu are now protected from being declared illegal and can easily apply for citizenship, much to the anger of those in Assam who argued that the register was never meant to discriminate on religious grounds.

The All Assam students’ union (AASU) has played a prominent role in the protests, said: “We will intensify our agitation calendar with each passing day until the CAB is not taken back by the government. This is not acceptable in Assam or even the people of the north-east. This bill has a communal agenda. The government want to polarise the whole population in the name of Hindu and Muslim.”

An official of the Hospital told that one person was brought dead and another succumbed to injuries during treatment. Protesters have claimed three people had died in police firing.

According to hospital sources said 11 people were brought there with gunshot injuries.

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