Following the passage of Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), 2019, in Parliament on December 11, security has been enhanced after protests against the legislation with some incidents of violence being reported in parts of the country. Regular daily operations have been impacted in the states of Northeast, particularly Assam and Tripura. The national capital Delhi also witnessed protests.
According to the CAB, the Act aims to provide that Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan will not be treated as illegal migrants. This clause has led to criticism from many political and constitutional experts apart from a backlash from the Muslim community. Further, the CAB states that the provisions on citizenship for illegal migrants will not apply to the tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, or Tripura, as included in the Sixth Schedule in the Constitution. The tribal areas that will be exempt include Karbi Anglong (in Assam), Garo Hills (in Meghalaya), Chakma District (in Mizoram), and Tripura Tribal Areas District. The CAB will also not apply to the areas under the “Inner Line” under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873. The Inner Line permit regulates visit of Indians to Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, and Nagaland.
Security Situation And Preparedness
Security has been enhanced in the Northeastern states following the passage of the bill in both houses of Parliament. Violence was reported in many parts of Assam and Tripura. A billboard of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were burnt in Guwahati ahead of the visit by both leaders to the city for a bilateral summit. Violent clashes were reported across Assam following the CAB being passed in the Lok Sabha on December 9. Several government employees have also indulged in protests and raised slogans against the government. Thousands of protesters have also been detained in Assam.
The protesters also vandalized a few shops and restaurants in Guwahati and other parts of the state. Several of them were also injured in clashes with security personnel in Guwahati and other parts of the state. Section 144 has been imposed in Assam including Tinsukia, Sonitpur, Lakhimpur districts.
Internet and mobile services have been suspended in many parts of Assam and Tripura due to the ongoing protests. The internet services have been suspended to prevent the spread of rumors that may escalate violence in the region. Train services were also disrupted in many parts of Northeast India due to protests in Assam and Tripura.
At least 5,000 paramilitary personnel have been deployed across the Northeast. The Assam government has also suspended mobile and internet services in 10 districts, apart from imposing an indefinite curfew in Guwahati. Security personnel tried to disperse crowds in Tripura by using water cannons, however, the protests continued to intensify.
Security has been enhanced in other parts of India like Delhi, Bengaluru, Aligarh, and Chandigarh following protests against CAB. With the bill passed in both houses of parliament, there is a risk of further protests and violence escalating in many parts of the country.
- Remain vigilant and exercise increased caution especially if traveling to West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and other parts of Northeast due to potential civil unrest.
- Report any unclaimed suspicious package to the authorities immediately.
- Personnel are advised to avoid visiting crowded places like malls, hotels, railway and metro stations.
- Personnel are advised to defer any non-essential travel to the cities that are likely to have communal tensions due to CAB.
- Carry identification documents due to heightened security presence.
- Personnel are advised not to engage in any conversation with strangers on political issues related to CAB as a basic precaution.
- Leave the area at the first sight of any unrest.
- Monitor IIRIS alerts for related updates.