Guwahati, Friday, December 13, 2019
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As protest turns violent, citizens call for restraint
Staff Reporter

A vehicle burnt down by anti-CAB protesters on Thursday. – UB
 GUWAHATI, Dec 12 - With the protests against the CAB turning unruly and the protesters indulging in violence and vandalism, conscious citizens have called for restoration of normalcy and order amid the chaos in greater public interest.

“We have virtually been rendered prisoners for the past three days. It is inexplicable why the government authorities have not been able to restore order. People are suffering great hardships, more so because they are facing scarcity of foodstuff. Shops have remained closed for three days at a stretch,” a resident of Chandmari area said.

He also questioned the police’s inertia in quelling the unruly protests. “We totally oppose the CAB, as it poses an existential crisis for the Assamese community in their homeland. We support the protests as well, but that has to be democratic and peaceful,” he added.

Another resident said that there could also be a ploy by vested interests to defame and derail the spontaneous mass protests against the CAB. “This warrants the agitation leaders, especially the AASU, to be very careful and proactive in thwarting the vested interest elements from derailing the movement,” he said.

Among the worst affected in the chaos have been the emergency services. “The city has experienced an acute shortage of ambulances all of a sudden. I could not get one to take my ailing brother to the hospital today,” a resident of Anil Nagar area said.

There have also been disturbing instances of ambulance service providers being harassed in the State.

“It has been observed that ambulances returning from hospital after handing over the patient are being harassed. In one incident in Lahoal area of Dibrugarh district, a violent mob vandalised our 108 ambulance. We would like to ensure that our services are only for medical emergencies and we do not indulge in any other activities. We further like to appeal that please call 108 only in case of medical emergencies and avoid enquiry calls and hoax calls,” EMRI Mrityunjoy 108 management said in a statement.

Stating that Mrityunjoy 108 is an essential service serving the distressed people of Assam when they are in need of medical supervision, it said that in view of the anti-CAB agitation it appealed to all the stakeholders to support it in providing the essential service by not disturbing the 108 ambulances and its staff.

“We also appeal to the public not to vandalise the ambulances and please give way to them,” it added.

The attacks on media personnel and vandalism in two city-based media houses have also triggered widespread resentment from the public.

“The media has a crucial role in disseminating information and acting as a connecting point among different stakeholders. It is shocking that the media personnel are being attacked and media houses vandalised. This must stop,” a senior journalist said.

Among the worst affected during the last three days’ protests have been the daily wage earners and small traders who are dependent on their daily earnings to eke out a living.

“We manage to make both ends meet by selling whatever we can during the day. Our business has suffered drastically,” a fruit seller of Ganeshguri area said.

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