Internet ban, protest cripples normal life in Assam

Since Guwahati connects rest of the Northeast, the curfew and agitation here severely impacted movement of vehicles carrying fuel and other essentials.

The restriction on mobile internet and curfew since December 11 due to the violent protest against the amended citizenship law has virtually crippled normal life across Assam with the App-based taxi service, banks and others badly hit.

With the state government still not easing the ban on mobile internet in 16 of the 32 district including Guwahati, the All Assam Cab Operators' Union staged a protest in Guwahati as the ban impacted livelihood of over 12,000 App-based taxi drivers.

"If the internet is not restored immediately, how will we survive? We have to pay EMI of Rs 10,000-15,000 for our cars. If the ban is not withdrawn, we will be compelled to bring all our cars and block the roads in Guwahati," said the union.

Many ATMs ran out of cash in Guwahati and elsewhere in Assam and long queues were seen on Monday in those having cash.

Similar queues were seen before cooking gas agencies, while prices of vegetables shot up in the markets of Guwahati.

Petrol pumps in parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and rest of the Northeast ran out of fuel as oil tankers remained stranded on the highways in Assam due to the night curfew.

The oil companies said that they would require a few more days to restore normal supply.

Since Guwahati connects rest of the Northeast, the curfew and agitation here severely impacted movement of vehicles carrying fuel and other essentials.

Curfew was imposed in Guwahati and in at least 6 other districts as protesters blocked roads, put vehicles on fire and attached public properties on Wednesday and Thursday.

Day curfew was eased in Guwahati for the third consecutive day on Monday but was reimposed at 9 pm.

Former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said that the ban on internet was imposed as the state government was nervous over the public protest and wanted to curtail it by imposing restrictions on communication means.

Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that restriction on internet could be withdrawn in a day or two after assessment of the situation by the security agencies.

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