Assam protest toll reaches 5, partial relief in curfew

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Assam protest toll reaches 5, partial relief in curfew
Guwahati: The toll in the ongoing protests against the new citizenship law (CAA) rose to five in Assam with two more persons injured in police firing earlier this week succumbing to their wounds, even as the authorities on Sunday decided to further relax the curfew in this capital city amid gradual improvement in the law and order situation.

Two persons admitted with bullet injuries at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital perished on Saturday night and Sunday morning respectively, officials said.

While two people had died of bullet wounds during the protests on Thursday, the driver of an empty oil tanker died on Saturday morning due to burn injuries sustained after the vehicle was set afire at Dhekiajuli in Sonitpur district on Friday night.

On Sunday, curfew was relaxed in Assam’s biggest city of Guwahati and in some parts of Dibrugarh from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., said a senior police official, adding that it has also been relaxed in some parts of Dibrugarh for around eight hours since morning.

On Monday, the day curfew would be withdrawn at 6 AM and the night curfew imposed from 9 p.m. in Guwahati, an official said.

A Guwahati police officer said the situation was better than it was on Saturday.

“The situation is improving gradually. It is better than yesterday. I think the situation will further improve,” Guwahati Joint Commissioner of Police Debraj Upadhyay told IANS over phone.

Upadhyay said large number of security forces have been deployed to ensure there was no further violence.

“A lot of forces are there, and we are picking up miscreants, who have been identified,” Upadhyay said.

Meanwhile, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal called upon all sections of the society to thwart those who are misleading the people.

“We are committed to protect all genuine Indian citizens and the rights of the people of Assam. I call upon all sections of the society to thwart the elements who are misleading the people on #CAA and indulging in violence and together continue the growth journey of Assam,” Sonowal tweeted.

The Congress and the ruling BJP ally Asom Gana Parishad said they would move petitions in Supreme Court seeking revocation of the CAA.

As the curfews were relaxed, long queues were seen outside shops at several places, including Dispur, Uzan Bazar, Chandmari, Silpukhuri and Zoo Road in Guwahati.

Auto and cycle-rickshaws were also plying across the city. Petrol pumps have also opened with vehicles waiting in lines to refuel.

The city as well as other parts of Assam faced violent protests after the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, became an Act following its passage in both the Houses of Parliament.

The Act will provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh before December 31, 2014.

As per the Act, such communities will not be treated as illegal immigrants now and will be given Indian citizenship.

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