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Assam protest toll reaches 5, partial relief in curfew



CAB Protest in ASSAM

Guwahati, Dec 16 : 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On Monday, the day curfew would be withdrawn at 6 AM and the night curfew imposed from 9 p.m. in Guwahati, an official said.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.


Fire at wholesale rice market in Kolkata




Kolkata, A fire broke out at the wholesale rice market in north Kolkata’s Raja Bazar on Sunday. No casualty or injury was reported.

Smoke was seen billowing from a factory premises around 2.15 p.m. Eleven fire engines fought the blaze and controlled it in an hour.

“Chemicals stored in the factory helped fan the fire. Since the area is densely populated, fire-fighters faced problems in controlling the fire,” said West Bengal Fire Service Minister Sujit Bose.Cooling operation was on, Bose said.

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2 trapped in house collapse in Delhi





New Delhi, At least two persons were feared trapped after a house collapsed in south Delhi’s C.R. Park area on Sunday, fire officials said.

“Five fire tenders have been rushed to the site,” said Delhi Fire Services Chief Atul Garg. The rescue and search operations were underway.

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Sedition case against 3 Kashmiri students in Karnataka




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Hubballi, Three Kashmiri students of a private engineering college in Karnataka’s Hubballi have been booked for sedition after they allegedly raised pro-Pakistan slogans, police said on Sunday.

“The three suspects are being questioned for raising pro-Pakistan and ‘Azadi’ slogans in their college hostel on Friday, which coincided with the first anniversary of Pulwama terror attack in Kashmir a year ago,” Hubballi Police Commissioner Ramaswamy Dileep told IANS.

Hubballi is about 410 kms northwest of Bengaluru. The trio, identified as Ameer, Basit and Talib from Kashmir’s Shopian district, were booked under section 124 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on a complaint by the KLES Institute of Technology for attempting to disturb communal harmony by raising anti-national slogans,” said Dileep.

The section deals with offences against the state.The institute’s principal Basavraj Anami complained to the police that the first-year students got admission under the central government quota.

“The incident occurred when the college was holding a function to pay homage to the martyrs of the Pulwama attack on Friday. Instead of attending the event, they were in the hostel taking a video of them shouting pro-Pakistan slogans,” Dileep said quoting from the complaint.

The principal came to know about the incident on Saturday when the video went viral on social media after they uploaded its footage to their friends’ WhatsApp groups.

“Pending investigation, the college has suspended the three students from the institute after the principal viewed the video and questioned their act,” added Dileep.

Condemning the students for raising pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans, state Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar, who hails from Hubballi, said the government would not tolerate such anti-national activities by anyone.

Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Prahlad Joshi, who represents the adjacent Dharwad Lok Saba constituency, said stern action would be taken against the accused for raising such anti-national slogans.

“Students who avail government scholarships and raise slogans against the country are under the impression that they can get away by indulging in such anti-national activities. Stern action will be taken against them after investigation as such actions cannot be tolerated,” Joshi said here.

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