No one can take away your rights, PM Modi tweets; Congress hits back

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Protests in Guwahati against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill on Tuesday.

Dispelling fears about the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which was cleared by the Rajya Sabha with a 125-99 margin, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday assured the Assam citizens that the government is committed to "safeguard the political, linguistic, cultural and land rights" of the people living in the state.

Taking to Twitter, Modi said, "I want to assure my brothers and sisters of Assam that they have nothing to worry after the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. I want to assure them - no one can take away your rights, unique identity and beautiful culture. It will continue to flourish and grow."

Taking a swipe at the 'reassuring' message, the Congress reminded the Prime Minister that internet services have been snapped across the state.

"Our brothers & sisters in Assam cannot read your 'reassuring' message Modiji, in case you've forgotten, their internet has been cut off," the party posted on the micro-blogging site.

Modi further tweeted, "The Central Government and I are totally committed to constitutionally safeguard the political, linguistic, cultural and land rights of the Assamese people as per the spirit of Clause 6."

The Prime Minister's assurance to the Assamese comes amid strong protests across the state where an indefinite curfew has been imposed and internet services have been suspended till 7 pm Thursday.

Follow Citizenship Amendment Bill protests LIVE here

On Wednesday, the Army was deployed and an indefinite curfew imposed in Guwahati, mobile internet services were snapped in 10 other districts of Assam, and the Centre rushed additional forces from Jammu and Kashmir to the state following a massive surge in protests against the contentious Bill.

The sharp escalation caught the state government on the wrong foot, just a day after officials maintained that they were in control of the situation while alleging that the agitation was largely fuelled by misinformation.

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In Dibrugarh, a senior official said that protesters pelted stones at Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s house and “have surrounded” the residence of MP and Union MoS Rameshwar Teli. The official said “10-12” protesting students received “minor injuries” during a confrontation with security personnel.

In other parts of the state, tyres were burnt, vehicles set ablaze, road dividers vandalised and clashes reported between protesters and security personnel.

Late Wednesday, the central government issued an advisory to private TV channels against showing content that “can encourage or incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order” or “promotes anti-national attitudes” or anything that can affect the “integrity of the nation”.

Government sources said 50 companies (5,000 personnel) of Central Armed Police Forces from J&K have been rushed to North-East states, particularly Assam. Sources said the forces were pulled out of J&K where the situation following the abrogation of Article 370 is “not expected to deteriorate” with the winter setting in.

“The movement of forces is not very big. There are enough forces in the North East already. The CRPF alone had 36 battalions there. Some companies from Kashmir have been moved as they are not needed there,” said a Union Home Ministry official.