Indian state hit by protests after two killed in eviction drive
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi calls the police's use of guns against protestors in Assam 'state-sponsored fire'
Thousands staged protests in India’s Assam state on Friday, a day after two people were killed when hundreds clashed with police over the state government’s eviction of Muslim families from their homes.
Assam’s government has faced widespread condemnation over the tactics used to eject the families, with critics pointing to them as the latest example of discrimination against Muslims under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.
Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi called the police’s use of guns against protesters “state-sponsored fire”. Police said they were attacked with machetes and bamboo sticks.
Assam’s chief minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswas Sarma said the police were only doing their duty, but halted the evictions on Friday.
Authorities had imposed an indefinite ban on gatherings in the northeastern state after a social media video from Thursday’s protests showed police with batons raining down blows on a man.
But on Friday Gandhi’s Congress party organised a rally in Darrang, where the evictions took place, while thousands more took part in another demonstration outside the Darrang district headquarters.
Other rallies were organised by student groups, with some burning an effigy of the chief minister.
In New Delhi, a dozen students were detained by police as they too protested against the incident.
The viral video from Thursday showed police in riot gear beating a protestor who had fallen to the ground seconds after gunshots were heard.
A photographer, hired by district officials to film the evictions, jumped on the man and was seen punching the body multiple times.
The photographer has since been arrested, according to police.
Move marks departure from the hard-line approach taken by ex-... READ MORE
Elderly woman charged with over 11,000 counts of accessory to murder READ MORE
Day to honour lost children and survivors of residential schools READ MORE
Advertising on the Tube guarantees high visibility to millions of... READ MORE
United States says it was deeply alarmed at reports of the military... READ MORE
The league had approved a proposal in December to add two franchises... READ MORE
Najibullah Zadran set up the win with his 34-ball 59 to guide... READ MORE
Future looks optimistic for the MICE industry. READ MORE