Protests continued in Assam state and other parts of northeast India as of Wednesday, January 23, over the proposed citizenship bill. A student union and civil society groups led many of the events, which included roadblocks, burning tires, and marches. Many businesses and roads were closed during protest activities. Demonstrations were reported in Barpeta district, Sivasagar district, and Guwahati; organizations in Mizoram state also threatened to protest on Republic Day on Saturday, January 26. Further disruptions are expected in the coming days in Assam state, particularly Guwahati, and across the northeastern portions of India. Planned events include a sit-in scheduled on Thursday, January 24, the formation of a human chain on Wednesday, January 30, and a torchlight procession on January 31. A heightened security presence along with transportation and business disruptions are likely in the event of protests.
Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament, passed a bill on January 8 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 (e.g. bans on protests or public gatherings), avoid public demonstrations due to the risk of violence and arrest, and anticipate protests, a heightened security presence, and localized business and transportation disruptions.
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