Two more protesters dead; BJP’s Assam ally to move SCUpdated: Dec 15, 2019 23:27 IST
Two protesters in Assam succumbed on Sunday to injuries sustained during violent protests against India’s new citizenship law as the junior partner in the state’s coalition government announced it may approach the Supreme Court against the new law.
Ramen Talukdar, the spokesperson of the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, confirmed on Sunday that Ishwar Nayak (25) and Abdul Alim (21) succumbed to their injuries. They were shot during violent clashes that broke out in Guwahati.
With this, the total number of deaths in the current protests rises to five – four of them were hit during the clashes that broke out in Guwahati on Thursday and a fifth truck driver died on Saturday after his oil tanker was set on fire. Twenty eight people are injured, confirmed state police.
No fresh protests were reported on Sunday and curfew was further relaxed in the city.
“Things are normal now,” said additional director general of police GP Singh, adding that and Dhemaji saw a relaxation in curfew from eight to twelve hours on Sunday. “We will take a call again tomorrow on if it can be relaxed further,” Singh added. Police said they have arrested over 200 persons for their alleged role in the violence.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) grants citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Parsis, Sikhs, Christians and Jains from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Protests against the CAA have rocked the north-east for nearly a week now and even triggered a political debate with voices of dissent in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Asom Gana Parishad (AGP)alliance.
Two senior leaders of the AGP, which had earlier backed the bill in Parliament, said the party will file a petition in the Supreme Court praying for revocation of the CAA.
Phani Bhusan Choudhury, senior AGP leader and cabinet minister in the state government, said party leaders have left for Delhi to approach the top court. “We want Brahmaputra Valley out of the purview of CAA,” he said.
He added that the party was not considering withdrawing support to the BJP.
“We will take the legal route to seek revocation of the amended Act as the indigenous people of Assam are apprehensive that their identity, language might come under threat,” said Kumar Deepak Das, a former Rajya Sabha MP.
But later in the day, AGP president Atul Bora said the party was yet to decide on the issue. “We are discussing the issue,” he told news agency ANI.
Protests continue in the state and on Sunday and thousands gathered at the Assam Engineering Institute ground in Guwahati.
Lurin Jyoti Gogoi, the general secretary of the All Assam Students Union that is spearheading the protests, said that from Monday, the students body will hold a mass civil disobedience programme where people will march to the local administration headquarters against the CAA.
Debabrata Saikia, senior Congress leader and the leader of opposition in the state assembly, wrote to Assam governor Jagdish Mukhi and demanded an inquiry by a sitting judge of the Gauhati high court into violence “perpetrated by the protestors and the security forces alike…”.