Assam employees cease work in anti-CAA protest

Police arrest PFI State unit president for ‘inciting violence’

Offices of the Assam government wore a deserted look in Wednesday as members of the Sadou Asom Karmachari Parishad, the apex employees’ organisation, ceased work in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

Central government offices, banks and other establishments functioned normally while schools remained closed and mobile Internet services suspended for the eighth day.

Officials said educational institutions are likely to open on December 23.

With people unable to access social media due to Internet restrictions, protesters used walls in urban areas for anti-CAA graffiti as hundreds gathered at Guwahati’s Latasil Field on the third and final day of the “mass satyagraha” organised by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU).

The protesters chanted anti-CAA slogans besides slamming the Narendra Modi government for “planning to dump Bangladeshis in Assam”.

On Wednesday, the police arrested Aminul Haque, State unit president of Popular Front of India (PFI), for allegedly inciting the violence and arson that claimed six lives last week. The police also raided the PFI office in Guwahati and seized laptops and other materials.

Assam Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday said the government had video evidence of the PFI and Congress members having orchestrated the violence.

Congress’s complaint to DGP

A Congress delegation on Wednesday met State DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta and complained that the Sarbananda Sonowal government was selectively targeting party workers.

“The injured being treated at the Guwahati Medical College Hospital belong to different communities but this government is singling out one community besides selectively arresting our party workers,” said Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi, a member of the delegation.

As popular Assamese artistes, a major cog in the anti-CAA wheel, called for a demonstration at Guwahati’s Chandmari Field on Thursday, the BJP-led State government announced a grant of Rs. 50,000 each to 2,000 artistes and technicians. The government also said 55,000 vacant posts would be filled up.

The AASU welcomed the move but said the sops would not mute the voices of protest in the State.

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