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Citizenship Bill Protests Turn Violent in Assam as Marching Students Break Barriers, Police Lob Tear Gas Shells

Image for representation

Image for representation

Two columns of the Army are also on standby in Assam, where a large group of students fought a pitched battle with the police near the state secretariat in Guwahati on Wednesday.

Guwahati: Two columns of the Army were deployed in Tripura while one each was requisitioned in Assam’s Bongaigaon and Dibrugarh on Wednesday as protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) turned violent.

The Centre has airlifted 5,000 paramilitary personnel to the Northeastern states for maintenance of law and order duties in the wake of protests, officials said.

Nearly 20 companies (2,000 personnel) have been withdrawn from Kashmir, where they had been sent prior to the Centre's decision on August 5 to abrogate Article 370 provisions and split the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.

The remaining 30 companies have been withdrawn from other places and rushed to Northeastern states, the officials said. The troops are from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).

However, sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said there was no additional movement of paramilitary forces from J&K to the northeast.

"An adequate number of paramilitary forces are there in the northeast to help the local police and administration to maintain law and order," said the sources, adding that about 70 companies of paramilitary forces are deployed in the northeastern states to maintain law and order and help the local administration.

In Assam, a large group of students fought a pitched battle with the police near the state secretariat here, police said. Students in large numbers were seen proceeding towards the Secretariat from all directions. Another group has reached Ganeshguri area, around 500 metres from the centre of power.

They broke a barricade on GS Road following which the police resorted to lathi charge. 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 lathicharge, 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 We will not succumb to any pressure till the CAB is repealed.”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.