ULFA-I Chief Paresh Baruah Warns Assam Police against Assaulting Anti-Citizenship Bill Protesters
Paresh Baruah said the ULFA-I will not sit idle if a protesting student or any Assamese for that matter is assaulted and urged the Assam Police to maintain restraint.
File photo of ULFA-I chief Paresh Baruah.
Guwahati: Paresh Baruah, the self-styled chief of army staff-cum-vice chairman of the banned United Liberation Front of Assam-Independent (ULFA-I), has issued a warning to the Assam Police against initiating any attack on students staging protests over the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday after hours-long fiery debate.
Speaking to News18 from an undisclosed location, Baruah said, “The ULFA-I will not sit idle if a protesting student or any Assamese for that matter is assaulted. We appeal to Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta, Director General of Police (DGP) of Assam Police, not to lathicharge people taking to the streets and vehemently opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.”
“The DGP should control his police force and not harass innocent protesters. The Assam Police (personnel) is our brother, they should think about every Assamese protester who is continuously agitating against the anti-Assamese bill,” the chief of the rebel outfit added.
Earlier in the day, students of Handique Girls’ College and Cotton University who were staging a protest march to Dispur over the Bill were lathi-charged by police personnel.
When the students tried to break barricades placed in the city’s ABC Road area, police used tear gas shells to disperse the crowd. Several students sustained grievous injuries during the clash.
The city police also fired blank shots during the protests in different parts of Guwahati, as several thousand demonstrators, mostly students, tried to move past security barriers to converge on the Capital Janata Bhawan, Dispur. According to reports, several vehicles were also set on fire during the protests.
The protesters also damaged a stage erected in the city’s Ganeshguri area for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's proposed summit meeting with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Sunday.
Hoardings and banners advertising the government's schemes were pulled down and set afire near the Janata Bhawan.
As the ongoing protests intensified, Police Commissioner Deepak Kumar said curfew will be in place ‘until further notice’.
The Assam government has also announced that internet services across 10 districts of Brahmaputra Valley of Assam will be shut for 24 hours, beginning 7pm on Wednesday, as protests against the Bill turned violent across the state.
The affected districts include Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Jorhat, Golaghat, Kamrup (Metro) and Kamrup. The Army has also been called to maintain law and order in certain stretches.
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