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Protest over Citizenship Amendment Bill affects normal life in northeast

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NESO Protest Tripura Mizoram

Agartala/Aizawl, Dec 10 : Normal life was badly affected across the northeast excluding Nagaland on Tuesday due to the shutdown and agitations organised by various tribal parties and youth organisations including the North East Students’ Organisation (NESO), to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB).

The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, following a marathon debate which continued past midnight on Tuesday.

In Tripura, four policemen and several protesters were injured during clashes between the agitators and the security forces in at least five places in Sepahijala, north Tripura and Dhalai Districts.

“The agitators burnt down and attacked some shops in Dhalai and north Tripura districts. Police resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the mob,” a police official said in Agartala.

The Tripura government, apprehending ethnic violence, stopped the mobile based internet and social media services in the entire state for 48 hours.

NESO Chairman Samuel B. Jyrwa said that among the seven northeastern states, Nagaland has remained out of the purview of the 10-hour long shutdown on Tuesday in view of the 10-day long traditional ongoing ‘Hornbill Festival’.

“The NESO members only organised sit-in-demonstrations in front of the Raj Bhavan in Kohima,” Jyrwa told IANS.

The Northeast Frontier Railway, which operates trains in some parts of Bihar and West Bengal besides entire northeastern region, either cancelled or rescheduled many trains including Humsafar Express and Kanchanjunga Express.

Road and rail traffic were badly affected and thousands of passengers were stranded as the picketers did not allow the plying of vehicles and trains in Tripura.

Tripura Police spokesman Subrata Chakraborty said that no major untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) areas, which has jurisdiction over two-thirds of the state’s 10,491 sq km area, and home to over 12 lakh people, mostly tribals.

“Shutdown was observed by the tribal based parties in the TTAADC areas while the picketers held road blockades and demonstrations outside of it. Police either evicted the picketers or detained them for blocking the roads and holding protests in important locations in different parts of Tripua,” Chakraborty told IANS.

An unprecedented contingent of security forces including the central para-military and Tripura State Rifles (TSR) were deployed to deal with the situation.

Senior police officials in Agartala quoting reports from the various districts, said that government offices, banks, educational institutions, shops and markets were closed in most places under the TTAADC areas.

The Education Department, Tripura Board of Secondary Education and the two universities – Tripura University and Maharaja Bir Bikram University – postponed their examinations due to the strike.

The Joint Movement Against Citizenship Amendment Bill (JMACAB), a conglomeration of many tribal local and regional parties, NGOs and student and youth organisations of Tripura, including Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) has called for an indefinite strike across the state against the CAB.

The NESO, an apex body of eight students and youth outfits, had called for a 10-hour shutdown on Tuesday in the entire region, comprising all the seven states.

In Mizoram, the 10-hour long shutdown crippled normal life. Government offices, banks, educational institutions, shops and markets were closed in the Mizo National Front (MNF) ruled state.

All kinds of vehicles except those of the security forces remained off the roads.

According to the police, the NESO and the NGO Coordination Committee leaders organised picketing in the district headquarters of Aizawl, Kolasib, Lunglei and Serchhip.

“The shutdown was peaceful in all the 11 districts of Mizoram,” a police official said in Aizawl.

After passing in the Lok Sabha, the Bill would now be moved in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday to cross its final hurdle before becoming a law to provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

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Cities

Now Mumbai gets it own ‘Shaheen Bagh’

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Shaheen Bagh Jamia Nagar Protest Site Picture.

Mumbai, Jan 27 : Inspired by the Shaheen Bagh protests in New Delhi, a large group of women have launched a similar style of protests from January 26-27 midnight in south Mumbai early on Monday.

Terming it a ‘Mumbai Bagh’, they are silently protesting against the CAA-NRC-NPR and by morning the crowds swelled even as Mumbai Police rushed to make tight security arrangements at the site at Morland Road-Thandi Sadak.

The protesters are mainly Muslim women from minority-dominated areas of Madanpur, Byculla, Agripada, Jhoola Maidan and surroundings who are staging a sit-in agitation, off the Arabia Hotel, near Mumbai Central station.

Senior Police Inspector Shalini Sharma told mediapersons that the protesters were asked to take prior permission but they refused to move from the site and continued to occupy the road.

Initially, surrounding the protesters around 3 a.m., by dawn the police stepped aside and the peaceful protests continued with raising of slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government, placards and posters opposing CAA-NRC-NPR, reading of the Preamble of the Constitution, singing patriotic songs and poems, and waving of the tricolour.

The protesters also sent messages to people providing regular updates and asking them to join them from their Twitter handle ‘Mumbai Against CAB’.

Besides, activists in Kalyan town in adjoining Thane district have announced a five-day Shaheen Bagh-type agitation at the Babasaheb Ambedkar Garden starting February 1.

Some of the messages today read: “URGENT. More people are needed at #MumbaiBagh right now. #IndiaAgainstCAA_NPR_NRC is for everyone and we all share equal responsibility towards sustaining this fight. The unjust & discriminatory forces unleashed by this govt must be defeated! Please join and spread the word.”

Similarly, Twitter handle ‘CAA/NRC Protest Info’, posted: “Need people to come to #MumbaiBagh or we will be detained … Please do come ASAP. Location: Mumbai Central, Next to Arabia Hotel, Opposite City Centre.”

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2G restoration brings little relief in Kashmir

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Srinagar: The restoration of mobile internet, 2G, in Kashmir after nearly six months of no internet has proved to be of little help due to extremely slow speed.

Even permissible sites listed as ‘white listed sites’ by the government are not accessible at times.

“We are not able to upload photos, let alone mail them,” Amir, a photo journalist said. “The speed is extremely slow and the websites just don’t open.”

For broadband restoration the businessmen are signing bonds committing not to allow IP address for accessing social media.

The bond also bars use of ‘VPNs’, WiFi, encrypted files, videos and uploading of photos. All USB ports of the computer will have to be disabled also.

The business units or the company will be responsible for the breach or misuse of the internet.

The business house will provide complete access to all its content and infrastructure as and when required by security agencies.

MAC (minimum access control) will ensure restriction to the use of internet access to registered devices through single PC.

That the restoration of 2G has proved ineffective is also evident from the fact that reporters continue to throng the Media Centre, an internet facility that J&K government has set up for them in the Information Department at Residency Road.

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Anti-CAA: Bengal CM wants every student to visit 1K households

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Kolkata, Jan 27 : West Bengal Chief Minister and state’s ruling Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee on Monday asked every member of the party’s student wing to visit 1,000 houses to convince the people about the party’s stand against the Citizenship Amendment) Act.

“I will urge every student to visit 1,000 houses to convince them on the party’s stand against the CAA,” Banerjee said at a workshop of the Trinamool Congress Chhattra Parishad.

Banerjee asked the students to immerse themselves in the campaign against the CAA, National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

“Students have to campaign from house to house, raise the issue while chatting at tea stalls, at stationery shops, restaurants,” she said during her speech at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.

At the same time, Banerjee took a dig at state BJP president Dilip Ghosh’s “chai pe charcha” (mass contact programmes at tea stalls).

“Why are they going to tea stalls to campaign in favour of the CAA? Why will one have to go to tea stalls solely for propaganda purpose?” she asked, demanding the BJP led NDA Central government scrap the law.

Accusing the BJP of misleading the people, she said: “They should know we are not bonded labourers, but citizens of the country”.

Banerjee also told the students that she was coming out with a handbook on the state’s performance in various sectors. “You collect this handbook so that you are better equipped to take the message of the government and the party to the people”.

She slammed BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya for linking those consuming flattened rice (poha) to Bangladeshi infiltrators.

“The country is not made of only one colour. It is a multi-colour nation with diverse religions, linguistic groups. We have to take everybody along. Our soil forbids us from dividing the people,” she said.

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