Skip to main content
14 Dec 2019 | 02:18 AM UTC

India: Curfews relaxed in Assam and Meghalaya states amid nationwide anti-CAB protests December 14 /update 7

Authorities relax curfews in areas in Assam and Meghalaya states amid ongoing nationwide anti-CAB protests December 14; further protests, clashes to be expected over near term

legal
security
transportation
IND

Event

Authorities have relaxed curfews in Guwahati (Assam), Dibrugarh (Assam) and Shillong (Meghalaya) as of Saturday, December 14, amid ongoing nationwide anti-Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) protests. In Guwahati, authorities have eased the curfew between 09:00 and 16:00 (local time), and in Dibrugarh, authorities relaxed the curfew from 08:00 to 14:00. Meanwhile in Shillong, authorities relaxed the curfew between 10:00 and 19:00. Local media outlets have reported the resumption of some businesses in Guwahati on Saturday, however, the situation in Assam reportedly remains tense. Assamese police have arrested approximately 65 people in conjunction with the protests.

On Saturday, protests were reported in Mumbai (Maharashtra), New Delhi, Upper Assam, West Bengal, as well as a student-organized general strike in Nagaland. Protesters blocked roads and vandalized railways in several areas on Saturday, causing widespread transportation disruptions. Police are reportedly using tear gas to disperse protesters. 

Several political parties have called for anti-CAB protests in Kerala on Monday, December 16. Organizers did not immediately announce an exact meeting time or location as of Saturday, however, some local media outlets have reported that a protest will take place at the Martyrs Column

The Rashtriya Janata Dal political party has also called for a nationwide general strike on Saturday, December 21. 

A heightened security presence and localized telecommunications, transportation, and business disruptions are to be expected in all affected areas over the coming hours and days. Further protests are likely, including in other cities and states across India; clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out.

Context

The Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), which seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, was originally introduced in 2016. It was tabled, however, due to widespread protests denouncing the legislation. Opponents claim the legislation is in violation of the constitution, which prohibits religious discrimination against citizens.

The Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) passed the CAB legislation on December 9, while the Rajya Sabha (upper house of parliament) passed the bill on December 11.

Advice

Individuals in India are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and demonstrations, prepare for transportation, business, and communications disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.