Epicentres of CAB protests;
Of curfew and internet ban
Army called out, internet service suspended, curfew extended from the previous 6.15 pm of December 11 to 7 pm of December 12 to until normalcy returns. Train services cancelled, students out on the roads to lodge their protests, numerous vehicles burnt. This is Guwahati and other districts such as Lakhimpur, Tinsukia, Dhemaji, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Kamrup (metro) and Kamrup. 25 injured in police crackdown at Dibrugarh and clearly Assam seems set to witness more unrest in the days to come with the Rajya Sabha having passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill despite the stiff resistance from the Opposition bench. This in brief is Assam on December 11 and December 12. Clear that Assam has emerged as the epicentre of the protest against the controversial Bill which will be enacted anyday soon. Assam and Tripura are the epicentres now, and one may add Shillong too where curfew has been imposed, but this does not mean that the other North Eastern States are quiet with Mizoram and Nagaland and Manipur too leading the way in voicing their concern. The voice of protest may not be that vocal in Sikkkim but significant to note that the Sikkim Democratic Front was the only party from the North East to have voted against CAB when it was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on December 11. Strong protests on the roads and streets, but all political parties based in the North East voting in favour of the said Bill and clearly the divide between the common people and the political parties cannot be more distinct than this.
To be fair to the BJP, it very clearly said before the last Lok Sabha elections that CAB would be brought back if voted to power and this is precisely what the people did, including voters from the North East. This again underlines the point of how the voting pattern does not exactly match with what the people want. Or is it a case of the rest who did not vote for the BJP mobilising the protests ? There will be no black and white answer to this, but interesting to note that following the intense protest launched by MANPAC, the Centre did go some way to extend the Inner Line Permit System to Manipur rendering CAB ineffective in the State. Following this, the anti-CAB movement in Manipur went into the cold for some time and this is where question arises on whether the protest was against any move to enforce CAB in Manipur or was against the Bill per se. No direct answer here, but the fact that the anti-CAB movement seems to have slowed down should tell the story of where the people stand vis-a-vis CAB. It seems more like a stand against any move to enforce CAB in Manipur and not the Bill itself. Not sure if this would have gone down well with the pan North East stand that was adopted, as States like Meghalaya significantly continue to stand against the said Bill.