New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s key ally in Assam, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has pulled off a one-eighty over the ruling government after initially supporting the Centre’s move on implementing the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act. The party has now decided to take the matter to the Supreme Court.
The AGP members held demonstrations outside the party headquarters in Guwahati demanding the resignation of three ministers, including party president Atul Bora. Leaders of AGP also decided to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss the matter that has now led to nationwide unrest.
Notably, the AGP had supported the amendment to the Citizenship Bill during its passage in Parliament. However, the party announced its reversed stand on Saturday after holding a meeting with its leaders. According to reports, many party functionaries, unhappy with the Centre’s decision, resigned from their posts alleging that the state government had failed to understand the magnitude of contention people of Assam had against the new law.
The AGP headquarters in Guwahati was earlier attacked by angry demonstrators amid one of the worst violent protests faced by Assam in years.
According to early morning reports from Guwahati Medical College Hospital, at least three people have died and 27 people injured so far. Several trains have been cancelled and sporadic incidents of violence were also reported from West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas and Howrah districts amid the raging anti-citizenship protests. Roads and railway tracks were also blocked as protesters shouted slogans against the Union government.
Protests broke out in many parts of the Northeast following the passage of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 in Parliament on December 11, and thereupon it becoming an Act after Presidential assent the next day. The violence that erupted in Assam and Tripura last week has now spiralled to West Bengal and even New Delhi.
On Saturday, protesters in West Bengal torched at least five trains, three railway stations and tracks, and over 25 buses.
Moreover, the suspension on mobile internet services across Assam has been extended for another 48 hours till December 16, although the curfew has been relaxed in Dibrugarh – from 7 AM to 4 PM – and in Guwahati – from 9 AM to 6 PM. Curfew has been relaxed in parts of Meghalaya as well. Meanwhile, a six-hour shutdown was observed in Nagaland.