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.