Minutes after the Rajya Sabha passed the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma congratulated PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. Taking to Twitter, Sarma wrote, “Where there’s a WILL, there’s a BILL & a way!”.
The Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha with 125 members favouring it and 105 voting against it.
On the other hand, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on December 11th, 2019 said the passage of the Bill marks a “dark day” in the constitutional history of India and a “victory of narrow-minded and bigoted forces” over the country’s pluralism.
“The Bill fundamentally challenges the idea of India that our forefathers fought for and, in its place, creates a disturbed, distorted and divided India where religion will become a determinant of nationhood,” she said.
Fresh protests erupted in the Assam on December 11th, 2019. To tackle the situation, the police had to fire rubber bullets, use water cannons, tear gas and resort to lathi charge on the protestors in several places in Assam.
Though no organisation has called for a bandh on December 11th, 2019, people have come out in large numbers in Guwahati, Jorhat, Golaghat, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Sivasagar, Bongaigaon, Nagaon, Sonitpur and several other districts since morning.
Shah thanked Modi and said that the dreams of crores of deprived and victimised people has come true today. “As the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 passes in the Parliament, the dreams of crores of deprived & victimised people has come true today. Grateful to PM @narendramodi ji for his resolve to ensure dignity and safety for these affected people. I thank everyone for their support,” Shah tweeted.
Tyres were burnt and logs placed on the roads and rail tracks by the angry agitators to stop the movement of vehicles and trains across the state.
The Bill seeks to grant Indian citizenship to the people belonging to the Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Parsis who have become the victims of religious persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan and entered India on or before December 31st, 2014.
The agitators said that the Bill nullifies the Assam Accord which has fixed March 24th, 1971 as the cut-off to identify illegal foreigners.
In Guwahati, students clashed with police in front of the Janata Bhawan, the seat of the BJP government. Agitators torched, vandalised vehicles in Guwahati. Curfew was imposed in the city as the government suspended internet services. Vehicles vanished from the busy city streets as protestors burnt tyres, banners and posters on the roads.
Photo: Facebook and Time8