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Curfew lifted, internet restored in India’s Assam after protests over citizenship bill grip the nation

Curfew lifted, internet restored in India’s Assam after protests over citizenship bill grip the nation
The authorities have revoked security measures, imposed in India's eastern Assam State, a third of whose population is Muslim. The area saw protests and intense rioting, during which four people were killed and thousands detained.

The curfew was lifted in Guwahati, Assam’s largest city, at 6am local time on Tuesday, local authorities said. With that, the Internet connection was fully restored.

Assam's Director General of Police, Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, admitted that four people were killed “in police action” during protests and rioting in recent days.

Mahanta also said that 190 people have been arrested in connection with the riots, and more than 3.000 protesters detained. A special police team was formed to investigate all cases of violence during the protest.

The protests have been rocking India after both houses of parliament approved the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) that simplifies acquiring citizenship for six religious groups, which came from neighboring countries, but leaves out Muslims living in India. Critics blasted the bill as discriminatory against Muslims, while the government denied the allegations, insisting that the legislation is aimed at protecting persecuted communities.

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The protests against CAB have intensified over the weekend, as riots erupted in numerous cities, including New Delhi, where the students of the Jamia Millia Islamia university clashed with police officers outside their campus.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police in New Delhi, Kumar Gyanesh, told ANI on Tuesday that protesters hurled petrol bombs and brought in wet cloths to tackle tear gas. “These things do not happen on the spot, it shows that it was a conspiracy,” he said.


Police also said that ten people were arrested in connection with the clashes around Jamia Millia Islamia, clarifying that all of them have criminal background and none are students.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, meanwhile, called the violent protests “unfortunate and deeply distressing,” since CAB seeks to protect “those who have faced years of persecution outside and have no other place to go except India.”

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