News Alerts

12 Dec 2019 | 07:19 AM UTC

India: Police clash with anti-CAB protests in Assam December 12 /update 4

India News Alert

Police officers clash with anti-CAB protesters in Lalungoann (Assam) on December 12, several injured; heightened security presence and associated disruptions expected

TIMEFRAME expected from 12/12/2019, 12:00 AM until 12/15/2019, 11:59 PM (Asia/Kolkata). COUNTRY/REGION Assam state

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Event

A senior police officer has reportedly confirmed to local media outlets at around 14:30 (local time) on Thursday, December 12, that police opened fire at demonstrators who were throwing stones and bricks at them in protest to the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Lalungoann (Assam state). At least four people have reportedly been injured, although local authorities did not immediately announce any injuries. 

Authorities have implemented an indefinite curfew in Guwahati (Assam state) curfew as of 18:15 on Wednesday, December 11, and suspended internet services for 24 hours from 19:00 in Lakhimpur, Tinsukia, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jordhat, Golaghat, and Kamrup districts following violent protests. Local media outlets report heavy police blockades throughout Guwahati. Authorities additionally suspended internet services in Tripura state for 48 hours since 14:00 on Tuesday, December 10, where the army has also been deployed to.

Several domestic airlines announced flight cancelations to and from several airports in Assam on Thursday following government orders. Airline representatives anticipate disruptions through to Sunday, December 15. The Northeast Frontier Railway has suspended rail operations in Assam and Tripura states as of Wednesday, and has ordered all long distance trains to terminate early in Guwahati. At least 31 trains have either been canceled or diverted as of Thursday morning. 

A heightened security presence and localized telecoms, transportation, and business disruptions are expected across Assam state in the coming hours and days. Further protests are likely, including in other states across India; clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out.

Context

The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), which seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, was originally introduced in 2016. It was tabled, however, due to widespread protests denouncing the legislation. Opponents claim the legislation is in violation of the constitution, which prohibits religious discrimination against citizens.

The Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) passed the CAB legislation on December 9, while the Rajya Sabha (upper house of parliament) passed the bill on December 11.

Advice

Individuals in Assam and Tripura, and in India more generally, are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and demonstrations, prepare for transportation and business disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.

 

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