Assam Speaker speaks up against CAB

Old man burnt alive in a shop; RSS office set on fire in Dibrugarh; Stones pelted at Sonowal’s house.

Guwahati: The ongoing anti-CAB agitation took a violent turn in Upper Assam’s Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts. A police officer sustained bullet injury in his leg in Dibrugarh while more than five shops belonging to a particular community were set on fire at Tinsukia by protestors on Thursday.

An old man from tea tribe community who was sleeping in the shop was also burnt alive in the shop. Security sources said that ongoing protest in Upper Assam was backed by outlawed organisation as suspected Ulfa-I rebels unfurled flags of the organisation at various places during the protest.

With very thin presence of security personnel, the protestors defied the curfew and pelted stones at the house of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal besides setting the office of RSS on fire in Dibrugarh.

Dibrugarh deputy commissioner Pallav Gopal Jha said that stones were thrown at the house of the Chief Minister in the Lakhinagar area. Some windowpanes were damaged in the stone pelting, a caretaker of the house said, adding that superintendent of police Gautam Borah also visited the house.

About 20 students and a TV journalist sustained injuries when police lathi-charged the protesting crowds in Bokel, after protesters blocked NH 37, and pelted stone on security forces.

A Quick Response Team, led by superintendent of police Gautam Bora, fired rubber bullets, lobbed tear gas shells and lathicharged to disperse the protesters.

Most of the injured are students from Dibrugarh Polytechnic, Lahoal. The injured were rushed to the Assam Medical College and Hospital, while the TV journalist was moved to a private nursing home.

The protestors burnt tyres on the roads, raised anti-BJP slogans, condemned Chief Minister and minister Himanta Biswa Sharma for their approval of the contentious Bill. The district remains paralysed with protests all over.

Meanwhile, the district administration has called for an urgent meeting of all the leaders of protesting organisations, including AASU, AJYCP, ethnic bodies, senior citizens, traders and media persons and appealed for peaceful and democratic protest. The administration called upon the leaders and newsmen to ensure that essential services like movement of ambulance, transporting oxygen to hospitals and other allied services are not obstructed.

Meanwhile, Assam Assembly Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami on Thursday said doubts expressed over the Citizenship (Amend-ment) Bill are not baseless, and there is a strong possibility of it creating division if implemented.

In a statement, Goswami appealed to the Central government to take necessary steps to redress the anger and grievances of the people of Assam.

“After the passage of the Bill by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill has become an Act. Though I should not comment on the Act as I am discharging Constitutional duties as Speaker, as a person working for the nation and community through the Assam agitation, I feel that the doubt created by this Act is not baseless,” he said.

“There is a strong possibility of creating division among different castes, communities and languages if this Act is implemented,” he said.

“I appeal to the Central government to take necessary steps to redress the anger and grievances of the people of Assam and particularly the younger generation of the state,” said Goswami, who is a BJP MLA.

“I have learnt a lot during the last 30 years of my active participation in politics and I respect the thoughts and ideas of the younger generation,” the Speaker added.

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