Citizenship Act Protests: Trains, buses torched in West Bengal; agitation continues in Northeast and Delhi
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The massive protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act entered fifth day on Saturday and thousands of agitators from Assam, West Bengal and other states raged on roads against the newly enacted Act.
Amid the protests in Northeast, many countries -- US, UK, France, Israel, Canada and Singapore -- issued advisory to their citizens asking them to ‘exercise caution’ while travelling to northeast India, especially Assam.
Meanwhile, in West Bengal some buses a railway station, a toll plaza in Murshidabad were set on fire by protesters.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has warned of strict action amid violent agitations and vandalism in several places across the state by people protesting against the amended Citizenship act and has appealed people to maintain calm and protest democratically.
Here’s all you need to know about today’s protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Act:
Protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act continued in West Bengal and several roads and railway blockade continued in different parts of the state. The police said that some incidents of violence were reported in Murshidabad, North 24 Paraganas districts and rural Howrah and several National Highways (NH) were also blocked in the state while train movements were blocked in the Sealdah- Hasnabad section of the Eastern Railway.
However, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday warned of strict action amid violent agitations and vandalism in several places across the state by people protesting against the amended Citizenship act and has appealed people to maintain calm and protest democratically.
“I request everyone to not create any disturbance or involve in any kind of violence. Be sure that Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens (NRC) will not be implemented in Bengal as we won't allow it. Please don't block roads and take law in hands,” she said.
The protests in Assam over the Citizenship Act continued on Saturday. However, the curfew imposed in Guwahati and Dibrugarh was relaxed for some time as the situation improved in the state. With the prohibitory orders relaxed till 4 pm, markets were opened with people lining in front of them to buy essential items. The schools and colleges, however, remained closed.
“Situation is better now, it's coming to normalcy in all districts.We had imposed curfew in some districts, especially in Guwahati which was relaxed today. We're taking precautions so anti-social elements don't get opportunity to take law in their hands,” ANI quoted Assam DGP as saying.
“In last few days we have arrested more than 100 people and detained nearly 2,000 people, out of which we are still examining some. We have let go those who had just participated in the demonstrations and not indulged in lawlessness,” he added.
The officials also organised special trains from Guwahati to help stranded passengers in the state. While 2000-2400 passengers ferried in last two days, around 600-800 passengers were still stranded in Guwahati and they will be ferried by tomorrow morning.
“Railways is becoming a soft target and thousand of passengers are inconvenienced and stranded. Railways is making efforts for informing about cancellation of trains. Safety of passengers is paramount and hence cancellation of trains. Wherever possible, local railway administration are running local trains for stranded passengers,” an official was quoted by PTI as saying.
Massive protests erupted in Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University on Friday with police detaining around 50 students for protesting violently. The students, however, alleged that the police lathi-charged them.
Meanwhile, the university on Saturday said that it has cancelled the examinations scheduled to take place in the next week and announced vacation till January 5. “All the exams postponed. New dates to be announced in due course of time. Vacation declared from December 16 to January 5. University will reopen on January 6, 2020,” a university official -- quoted by ANI -- said.
As a precaution, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) also closed entry and exit gates at Janpath metro station. “As advised by Delhi Police, entry and exit at Janpath has been closed. Trains will not be halting at this station,” the DMRC said in a tweet.
The agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act also reached Maharashtra after a group of residents, who hail from Assam, staged a demonstration in Mumbai. The protest was held at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai and the participants carried placards, banners and handbills with messages 'Say No to CAB', 'We oppose CAA' and 'Withdraw CAA, Save Assam'.
“We are fighting over the issue of foreigners (settling down in Assam) for the last many years and now with this act, the situation will worsen. If we gave shelter to more foreigners, Assamese citizens will suffer,” PTI quoted a protester as saying.
(With PTI and ANI inputs)
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma