The protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill or CAB in Assam has put in limbo Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s planned annual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which is scheduled to be held from December 15 to 17 in Guwahati. According to reports, the central government has already started working on “plan B” for the Japanese prime minister’s visit.
The state of Assam is burning over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, that seeks to grant Indian citizenship to illegal non-Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The bill, which was already passed by the Lok Sabha, cleared the Rajya Sabha hurdle on Wednesday.
The protesters set vandalised posters of the India-Japan summit and set aflame the makeshift stage that had been constructed for the event in Guwahati. According a report in The Indian Express, Delhi’s Hyderabad House is being considered as an alternative venue for the Modi-Abe summit.
On Wednesday, the anti-CAB protesters clashed with the police and set afire several government vehicles. It is being said that the magnitude of the protests is the same as the violent six-year movement that resulted in the signing of the Assam accord in 1985. The protesters attacked the house of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. They also pelted stones at the houses of several BJP leaders. The house of Union minister Rameswar Teli in Assam's Duliajan was also attacked by the anti-CAB protesters.
As the protests spread across the state, the Army has been deployed in Guwahati, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Jorhat districts in Assam. An indefinite curfew has been imposed in Guwahati and internet services has been suspended in 10 districts of Assam in a bid to curb communication between the protesters. The people of north eastern states, especially Assam and Tripura are demanding revocation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill as they fear being "overrun" by non-Muslims from neighbouring Bangladesh.