Uneasy calm in Guwahati, buses off roads

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GUWAHATI: The Army and paramilitary forces conducted flag marches in Guwahati and some other districts as public transport remained off the roads and an uneasy calm prevailed in Assam on Friday, a day after two people died during violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill, which is now a law after the President’s assent.
An indefinite curfew imposed in Assam‘s Dibrugarh municipal area was relaxed for five hours till 1 pm on Friday.
There were no reports of further violence from Guwahati on Friday where cultural personalities and civil society members were on fast for 10 hours following a call given by the All Assam Students Union, which is leading the protests.
In the morning, following reports that curfew has been relaxed in Guwahati, shops and markets opened the shutters and people queued up to stock food and other essentials in view of the ongoing protests.
The authorities later clarified that no order was issued about any relaxation in curfew in Guwahati, but the security forces allowed the shops and markets to do business so as to enable people to buy the necessities.
However, public transport, including buses, did not ply in Guwahati, which has been the epicentre of the violence, that began early this week after the controversial legislation was introduced in the Lok Sabha.
On Thursday evening, the Assam government had imposed night curfew in Jorhat, Golaghat, Tinsukia and Charaideo districts and imposed fresh curfew in Assam‘s Tezpur and Dhekiajuli towns.
On Thursday, thousands of people defied the curfew and took to the streets as the raging agitation saw the house of an MLA and a Circle Officer being set ablaze, while the government removed two key police officers.
Two protestors with bullet wounds were taken to the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital, where one was declared dead before the other succumbed. At least 11 others were injured during the protests.
The authorities also extended the suspension on internet services for another 48 hours. Most airlines have also cancelled flights to and from Dibrugarh and Guwahati, and train movement was halted.
In an appeal to the people, Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal called for maintaining calm.

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