North-East turns into fortress, Centre airdrops over 5,000 para troops
The Centre on Wednesday airdropped over 5,000 paramilitary personnel to north-eastern states, including Assam, in the wake of violent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which was cleared by the Lok Sabha on Monday and the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, a senior ministry of home affairs official said.
Officials said that over 50 companies of CAPFs (central armed police forces) comprising CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force), BSF (Border Security Force) and SSB (Sashastra Seema Bal) were sent to different districts in the north-east on Wednesday.
To bolster deployment of forces in the north-east, nearly 20 companies (2,000 personnel) have been withdrawn from Kashmir, where they were sent prior to the Centre’s decision on August 5 to abrogate Article 370 provisions.
The remaining 30 companies have been withdrawn from other places and rushed to Northeastern states, the officials added. “If required, more troops are on standby.”
Assam and Tripura have, particularly, witnessed major incidents of violence in the last two days over the contentious bill, which seeks to amend the definition of illegal immigrant for Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Christian, Jain and Buddhists from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who have lived in India without documentation.
According to the bill, members of the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who entered India before December 31, 2014 on account of religious persecution in those countries, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given citizenship.
The MHA official cited above said a review meeting also took place on Wednesday in the North Block to assess the situation. “We are also in touch with respective state governments to analyse law and order situation,” he said.