Death toll rises to three in Assam anti-CAA protests (roundup)

Guwahati, Dec 14 (IANS) The death toll in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) went up to three in Assam amidst a rail blockade, hunger strikes and sit-ins organised by various organisations, even as the curfew enforced in Guwahati was relaxed for seven hours on Saturday.

While two people had died of bullet wounds during the protests on Thursday, the driver of an empty oil tanker was killed after the vehicle was set afire at Dhekiajuli in Sonitpur district on Friday night, the police said.

The victim died of burn wounds on Saturday morning in a private nursing home.

The protests continued with cultural personalities and civil society members joining the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and other organisations in holding sit-ins and hunger strikes in all districts of the Brahmaputra Valley on day six of the protests.

Lending their weight to the agitation, Assam government employees announced that they would go on a cease work on December 18.

Meanwhile, the authorities extended the suspension on internet services till December 16 to prevent mischief by using the social media.

In Dibrugarh municipal area, curfew was relaxed from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., officials said.

With prohibitory orders relaxed till 4 p.m., shops and markets opened in Guwahati and some vehicles were seen plying on the roads.

However, schools continued to remain shut.

“The situation is improving. Curfew has been withdrawn up to 4 p.m. today. Normalcy seems to be returning gradually,” Guwahati Joint Commissioner of Police Debraj Upadhyay told IANS over phone.

He said forces have been strategically deployed throughout the commissionerate for maintenance of law and order.

The officer informed that a number of people have been arrested in different police stations, but could not give the exact figures.

People lined up before shops selling essentials like food items and a large number of cars were seen outside petrol pumps for refuelling.

A Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) spokesman told IANS that train movement was “not yet normal” in the state.

“Local passenger trains were not running. Long distance trains to Dibrugarh and Tinsukia are being short terminated in Guwahati. However, long distance trains to Agartala and Silchar are plying,” NFR Chief Public Relations Officer Subhanan Chanda told IANS.

On Thursday, two protesters with bullet wounds were taken to the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital, where one was declared dead before the other succumbed to his injuries. At least 11 others were injured during the protests.

The All Assam Students Union (AASU), which is spearheading the protests, has called a three-day mass ‘satyagraha’ in all district headquarters of the state from December 16.

–IANS
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