By: Manisha Bhowmick
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The Citizenship Amendment Act- C(A)A, which relaxes the rules for Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains and other non-Muslim to gain citizenship in India, has thrown life in several parts of the country into disarray. The protests against the Bill-turned-Act, which began in the Northeastern states, has now spread like a wildfire to several parts of the globe.
In the Northeast, where the stir against the Bill initially began, hordes of people opposing the C(A)A can still be seen across the region, with student activists and indigenous organizations leading the charge against the Bill-turned-Act.
After Bill’s passage in the Parliament, protestors against the C(A)B have spread to Kuwait, Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia, and several other countries. After the Bill was passed, protests shook every nook and cranny of the Northeastern states which were hit by a slew of ‘bandhs’ that brought life to a screeching halt during the week-that-was.
Several of the protests have taken an ugly turn, with many shops, malls and means of transportation in the states being shut down amid reports of vandalism.
Guwahati city, which emerged as the epicenter of protests in Assam, is going through one of its biggest nightmares after the bleak days of the Assam Agitation (1979-1885).
Some protests turned violent and agitators burned tyres, buses, ambulances, cars, and barriers in Guwahati amid a complete breakdown in the law-and-order situation. In one of the most shocking incidents, a truck driver was burned alive in his own truck by protestors, and his cries for help went unheeded.
In many places of Guwahati, Section 144 has been imposed, i.e. not more than four people can form a group in any public place. Paramilitary forces have also been called from Delhi to Guwahati, and internet connections have been temporarily suspended in Assam, and Tripura and until further notice from the government.
Amid escalating violence and unrest on the streets, as many as 5 protesters lost their lives, whereas several others were injured during firing by security forces.
Trains and aircrafts to-and-from have been either postponed or cancelled and hundreds upon hundreds of people were stranded for a long time, waiting to be rescued.
The unrest over this Act has also made the lives of the students difficult. Hostelers of the Guwahati University, who have played an active role in the mass agitations against the Bill-turned-Act, have been asked to leave the hostels. Meanwhile, University students of Jamia Milia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University, and Jawaharlal Nehru University have also launched massive protests against the controversial legislation and have demanded its scrapping.
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