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30 Jan 2019 | 04:13 PM UTC

India: Protests over citizenship bill continue in northeast through Feb. 7 /update 5

Civil society groups plan protests and strikes in Assam and other northeastern states through February 7 to denounce a proposed citizenship amendment



Multiple civil society groups are planning protests and strikes to oppose the proposed citizenship amendment from Thursday, January 31, to Thursday, February 7. Protests have continued throughout the northeast, particularly in Assam state, in recent weeks and have often involved roadblocks and strikes. The National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) called for a 12-hour bandh (general strike) in Assam on January 31. Other demonstrations are also planned for Monday, February 4, and February 7. Groups in Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura are planning a railway blockade on February 7. A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are likely during any protests.


Lok Sabha, the lower house of parliament, passed a bill on January 8 that would grant citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Parsis, Sikhs, and other members of non-Muslim religious groups who have immigrated to India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan in the past six years, regardless of immigration status. It also follows shortly after a July census announcement by the Registrar General of India that excluded 4 million Muslims in Assam state that were unable to provide citizenship documents to prove they had lived in India before 1971. The upper house of parliament, which is unlikely to approve the bill, has yet to vote on the measure.


Individuals in northeast India, particularly in Assam, are advised to monitor the situation, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities (e.g. bans on protests or public gatherings), avoid public demonstrations due to the risk of violence and arrest, and anticipate protests, a heightened security presence, and localized business and transportation disruptions.

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