Violent Protests

Dec 13, 2019

On 12 December 2019, violent protests against a controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) — ratified by India’s Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Parliament, the previous day — occurred in the northeastern states of Assam and Tripura. Clashes occurred between protesters and police officers in Assam’s Guwahati city, despite an indefinite curfew in the city and restrictions on mobile internet services across the state. Police officers opened fire on protesters in the Lalungaonn area of the city after protesters reportedly threw rocks, bricks and other projectiles at the officers. At least four protesters were injured; one later succumbed to his wounds at a hospital. Protesters set fire to at least four train stations in the state, forcing authorities to suspend train services. At least two domestic airlines, including IndiGo, canceled all flights to and from Assam’s Dibrugarh Airport (VEMN/DIB) for 12 December. Additionally, educational institutions in the state are suspending classes until 22 December in view of the unrest.

Violence also occurred in Tripura state, where restrictions on internet services remain in effect and police officers have arrested at least 1,800 people since 11 December. Authorities have deployed thousands of military and paramilitary personnel to Assam and Tripura in an effort to curb the violence. Residents in the northeastern states — particularly those in Assam and Tripura — resent the CAB, which offers fast-track citizenship to non-Muslim undocumented immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan. A notable number of Bangladeshi migrants reside in the two states and could benefit from the bill, which excludes Muslim immigrants.

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