GUWAHATI: Internet services will be suspended in ten districts of Assam for 24 hours, beginning 7 pm on Wednesday, state government officials said, amid massive protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
They said internet services will be suspended to prevent misuse of social media in disturbing peace and tranquility, and to maintain law and order.
Internet services will be suspended in Lakhimpur, Dhemaji, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Kamrup (Metro) and Kamrup, according to a notification issued by Additional Chief Secretary (Home and Political Department) Kumar Sanjay Krishna.
Internet will be suspended as "social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and YouTube etc are likely to be used for spreading of rumours and also for transmission of information like pictures, videos and texts that have the potential to inflame passions and does exacerbate the law and order situation", the notification said.
It further stated that there have been protests in different parts of the state and there are probabilities of intensifying such protests which may adversely affect the law and order situation.
There are reports in the electronic media that protestors are involved in vandalism which is likely to "spread serious law and order situation" in the state, it added.
Tens of thousands of protesters against the CAB descended on the streets of Assam, clashing with police and plunging the state into chaos of a magnitude unseen since the violent six-year movement by students that ended with the signing of the Assam accord.
Though no party or student body has called a shutdown, protesters, a majority of them students, fought pitched battles with security forces in the restive state, including in front of the secretariat, the seat of the BJP government.
Police fired tear gas shells and baton-charged protesters, who fought back.
Assam smouldered with protests rocking several parts of the state on the day the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is being hotly debated in the Rajya Sabha after its passage by the Lok Sabha.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which has already been approved by Lok Sabha, proposes to give citizenship to Hindus, Christians, Parsis, Jains, Budhists and Sikhs facing religion persecution in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.