The Congress and some communal forces are behind the violence: Sonowal (Photo Credit: PTI)
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday blamed opposition Congress and "communal forces" for the widespread violence in the state over the last two days, saying strong action will be taken against those involved in arson and vandalism during the anti-citizenship bill protests.
Sonowal also said the violence was part of a political conspiracy against the BJP-led government in Assam and asserted that he was committed to protecting the rights of the indigenous people of the state.
"The Congress and some communal forces are behind the violence. Even some ultra Left have joined the mob. It is a political conspiracy," he told PTI. The chief minister said the government will not tolerate any violence and strong action will be taken against anyone who is involved in vandalism.
"No one, who is involved in violence, will be spared," he said. The chief minister's comments came after two days of continuous violence by a section of protesters in the state against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which was approved by Parliament on Wednesday and got the presidential assent Thursday night.
Frenzied mobs blocked roads in different parts of Assam with burning discarded tyres and menaced commuters by bludgeoning their vehicles with sticks and stones. Two railway stations were torched while houses of several legislators, including the private residence of Sonowal, were attacked by mobs.
"I am committed to protecting the rights of the indigenous people and want to assure that interests of the indigenous people will not be harmed," he said. The chief minister said his government has no problem with non-violent democratic processes but those indulging in vandalism, taking advantage of the protests, will be dealt with sternly. "Some people are trying to spread wrong information to mislead people and aggravate the situation. I appeal to everyone not to do anything that will disturb peace," he said.
Sonowal also asked people of the state not to worry about the amended Citizenship Act, saying the traditional culture, language, political and land rights will be protected by implementing Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. He said a committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Justice Biplab Sarmah (retd), who has been given the task of preparing recommendations for ensuring the constitutional safeguards to the people of Assam.
The central government has categorically stated that the recommendations of Clause 6 committee will be fully implemented, the chief minister said. Two persons were killed on Thursday in police firing in Assam to quell protests against the contentious Act, with thousands descending on the streets defying curfew.
Several towns and cities were placed under indefinite curfew, including Guwahati, the epicentre of protests, besides Dibrugarh, Tezpur and Dhekiajuli. Night curfew was imposed in Jorhat, Golaghat, Tinsukia and Charaideo districts, officials said.