New Delhi: As protests rage over the Citizenship Amendment Bill that is being discussed in the Parliament, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal was among those stranded at the Guwahati Airport for hours on Wednesday.
Mass protests were seen across the state as student groups took to the streets against the Bill that aims to make non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan eligible for citizenship in India.
The Army was sent into Tripura and Assam and nearly 20 companies (2,000 personnel) airlifted from Kashmir to the Northeast. However, sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) later said no such movement from Jammu and Kashmir has been ordered.
Sonowal, who was on a visit to Tezpur, was forced to wait in the VIP lounge of the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International airport as his convoy could not roll out due to the massive protest.
Parts of Assam have come to a complete standstill as thousands took out marches against the Bill. The student groups even fought a pitched battle with the police near the state secretariat and broke a barricade on GS Road following which they were lathi-charged. Teargas shells were also lobbed at the students who threw the shells back at the policemen.
Claiming that several of them were injured in the lathi-charge, the students said, "This is a barbaric government led by Sarbananda Sonowal. We will not succumb to any pressure till the CAB is repealed.”
Besides Guwahati, protesters also clashed with the police in Dibrugarh district where the police fired tear gas shells and rubber bullets at demonstrators. A journalist was injured in stone-pelting there.
In view of the massive protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Assam, the Northeast Frontier Railway on Wednesday cancelled many trains and rescheduled a few that originate from the state. At least 14 trains have either been cancelled, short terminated or diverted anticipating "disruptions in train movement," NF Railway Chief Public Relations Officer Subhanan Chanda said in a statement.
(With IANS inputs)