- Massive protests in northeast over Citizenship (Amendment) Bill
- Bill promises citizenship to non-Muslims from neighbouring countries
- Vehicles set on fire in Shillong, Chief Minister heckled
Mobile internet and SMS services were blocked across Meghalaya for two days, and an indefinite curfew imposed in parts of capital city Shillong after unrest flared in the state on Thursday over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill or CAB.
In Shillong, markets remained shut and no transportation was available across the city. Mobile phone videos shot by locals showed at least two cars on fire and a scramble to shut the town's main shopping street, the Police Bazar. Another video posted on Twitter claimed to show a massive torch light rally being taken out on one of the town's main road.
#Meghalaya#Shillong#CABProtest#CitizenshipAmmendmentBill2019#CABProtest#BJP#CitizenshipAmendmentBill This is what the usually busy Shillong looks like this morning due2partially imposed #curfew@the City. Plz note dat dis is Xmas Season and would usually be packed with ppl. pic.twitter.com/PXOAucFQDQ— Shakti Laitphlang (@SLaitphlang) December 13, 2019
In the Williamnagar town, 250 km from Shillong, anti-CAB protestors heckled Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, as he landed from a chopper to take part in an event to mark the death anniversary of a freedom fighter.
Young men and women holding banners were filmed shouting 'Conrad go back' in front of the chief minister's convoy.
The Meghalaya police, through its Twitter handle, appealed to people not to spread misinformation and also announced the curfew in Shillong and the suspension of SMS and mobile internet services.
In neighbouring Assam, violent mobs torched buildings and clashed with the police, leaving at least two dead. Though no major incident of violence was reported from Tripura, state capital Agartala observed a shutdown, with educational institutions and offices closed.
The protests in the north-eastern states were triggered by the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which promises citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, in the Rajya Sabha yesterday.
While opposition parties have called the law unconstitutional for making religion a criteria for immigration, residents in ethnically-diverse northeastern states like Assam and Tripura have launched protests because it stands to give citizenship to large numbers of Hindus who have emigrated from Bangladesh in recent decades.
In a tweet on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged calm and said the people of Assam had nothing to fear. "I want to assure them - no-one can take away your rights, unique identity and beautiful culture. It will continue to flourish and grow," he wrote.