Assam: 2 PFI leaders held for inciting violence, arson

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Two leaders of the Popular Front of India (PFI) were arrested on Wednesday on charges of inciting violence and arson that took place here on December 10 and 11 during the protest against the Modi government's amendment to the Citizenship Act.

Assam Cabinet minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said Aminul Haque, president of PFI's Assam unit, and Muzzamil Haque, the front's press secretary, were arrested in Kamrup district in connection with a case registered with Rangia police station.

"They used to operate from their rented apartment at Hatigaon area in Guwahati, which belongs to Tohidur Rahman, a retired deputy superintendent of police. The evidence gathered by the police agencies has revealed that they had planned the violence and incited many to resort to burning of vehicles and other arson. The Special Investigation Team, already formed by the government, will thoroughly probe their involvement and identify who else are there with them," Patowary told reporters here.

The arrests come a day after the state government claimed that PFI and Campus Front of India,  the two outfits of Students Islamic Movement of India (Simi), a banned organisation, were part of the design to set fire on Janata Bhavan (state secretariat) on December 11.

Vehicles were set on fire, roads blocked and stones were pelted on security forces on December 10 and 11 in front of the secretariat and some other places in the city, amid a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019.

The administration clamped curfew, imposed a ban on internet and resorted to firing to stop the violence in which four protesters died.

The ban on mobile internet is still on.

AASU stretch protest

The All Assam Students' Union (AASU) on Wednesday announced a series of agitational programmes from December 21 to 28 to oppose the amendment.

Most parts of Assam rose in protest as the indigenous people fear that the amendment would reduce them into a minority by giving citizenship to a large number of post-1971 Hindu Bengali migrants.

The three-day-long satyagraha led by AASU  against the amendment ended on Wednesday. A group of artistes will also stage a protest here on Thursday.

NIA custody

Peasants' rights leader Akhil Gogoi, who was arrested on Sunday on sedition charges, was taken to New Delhi by a NIA team on Wednesday.

The state government had handed over the case to the NIA and alleged Googi's links with Maoists.

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