Protest continued for the third consecutive day in Assam state on Thursday, January 10, following the passage of a controversial citizenship bill through the lower house of parliament. The largest of demonstrations were concentrated in the city of Guwahati and organized by 70 civil society groups. Police imposed Section 144 law, which prohibits gatherings of more than four people, and levied sedition charges against one protest leader and writer. However, further public demonstrations and protests are expected in the coming days along with associated disruptions. Clashes with security forces cannot be ruled out.
Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament, passed a bill that would grant citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Parsis, Sikhs, and other members of non-Muslim religious groups who have immigrated to India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan in the past six years, regardless of immigration status. It also follows shortly after a July census announcement by the Registrar General of India that excluded 4 million Muslims in Assam state that were unable to provide citizenship documents to prove they had lived in India before 1971. The upper house of parliament, which is unlikely to approve the bill, has yet to vote on the measure.
Individuals in India, particularly in Assam, are advised to monitor the situation, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, avoid public demonstrations due to the risk of violence, and anticipate protests, a heightened security presence, and localized business and transportation disruptions.
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