Over 85 held; Internet ban extended in Assam

Over 85 held; Internet ban extended in Assam

These services have been suspended as "social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and YouTube, etc are likely to be used for spreading of rumours and also for transmission of information like pictures, videos and texts that have the potential to inflame passions and does exacerbate the law and order situation". Photo/AFP

Over 85 people including peasants’ rights leaders, Ulfa leaders and students have been arrested while several others were detained since Wednesday when the violent protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), led Assam into a turmoil.

A driver in Darrang district died after his goods carrier vehicle was set afire on Friday night, taking the death toll in the ongoing violence to four.

Curfew was relaxed for seven hours in Guwahati and five other districts but was reimposed at 4 pm. The restriction on mobile internet was extended till Monday as a protest against the Act continued in different places in Nagaon, Jorhat, Nalbari, Darrang, Lakhimpur and Majuli district.

“Several persons have already been detained based on the video footage of the violence. Strict action will be taken against those involved,” Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta told a local television channel on Saturday.

Akhil Gogoi, leader of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, and two of his of close aides and Jiten Datta, leader of a pro-talks group of Ulfa, were arrested in Jorhat and Dibrugarh districts, respectively.

Gogoi, who has been arrested several times for his protest against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) and big-time projects, on Tuesday allegedly appealed to everyone to disrupt the administrative machinery to oppose the Bill.

NIA sources said that a case was registered against Gogoi for sedition and under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for fomenting trouble during the protest against CAB. 

While the government said that it would not bar the peaceful protest, a citizens forum against CAB said that the ban on internet and arrest of public leaders like Gogoi was part of the BJP’s plan to cut the public protests against the Bill.

As vehicles remained stranded on highways due to the protest in Assam, neighbouring states like Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh reported fuel crisis with people lining up at petrol pumps on Saturday.

ATMs in Guwahati saw long queues since the curfew was relaxed on Saturday for seven hours.

Prices of essential commodities such as vegetables almost doubled as shops opened on Saturday morning..

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