Assam shutdown: Sob theeke aase?

Assam shutdown: Sob theeke aase?

The mobile internet ban imposed in parts of the state yesterday was extended for 48 hours.

By NL Team

Published on :

An illustration by Newslaundry Design Head Anish Daolagupu on the prevailing situation in Assam:

As Assam continued to burn in response to the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was passed by the Parliament last night, the state government Thursday extended the internet shutdown in 10 districts and the capital Guwahati by 48 hours. 

Commenting on the situation, Prime Minister Modi tweeted an assurance to his “brothers and sisters” in Assam, even though many of them won’t be able to read it. 

Meanwhile, thousands of protestors defied the curfew imposed last night and clashed with the security forces. BJP MLA Binod Hazarika’s house was set on fire by the protesters in Chabua earlier today. The protesters also set a circle office ablaze. AK Abdul Momen, Bangladesh’s foreign minister, cancelled his three-day visit to India in view of the situation. The Assam police opened fired on protesters in Guwahati’s Lalung Gaon area after stones were hurled at them, leaving at least four people injured. 

Guwahati, the epicentre of the protests, was placed under indefinite curfew on Wednesday. The Army was deployed in some of the affected areas, and the suspension of mobile internet services in 10 districts — Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Kamrup Metro, and Kamrup — extended by 48 hours. All train services to Assam and neighbouring Tripura have been suspended as well.

The situation in Assam bears a resemblance to that in Kashmir, where internet and phone services were suspended following the abrogation of Article 370 in early August. While phone services have been partially restored, internet remains suspended, making it increasingly difficult for even journalists to do their work. According to a report by LiveMint, 67% of the world’s documented shutdowns last year were in India. The country’s also holds the dubious record of imposing the longest internet blackout, in Kashmir for nearly five months in 2016 following the killing of the Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.