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Shah's northeast visit put off, train services hit in Assam


Shillong/Agartala/Guwahati: Union Home Minister Amit Shahs scheduled visit to Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh on December 15 to attend separate functions has been postponed in view of the "law and order situation in the region" following agitation against the citizenship law, officials said on Friday.

An official in the Arunachal Pradesh Home Department said that Shah's visit to the state on Sunday to take part in a festival in Tawang has been cancelled, considering the ongoing violent protests in the region over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which has now become a law after getting clearance from both the Houses of Parliament earlier in the week.

"The Union Home Minister was supposed to visit NEPA (North-Eastern Police Academy) to attend the passing-out parade of the trained police personnel. But in view of the law and order situation in the northeastern region, especially n Assam, his visit was postponed," a top official of NEPA told IANS.

The official said the passing out parade has also been also postponed. "We would fix the new schedule in consultation with the Union Home Ministry," said the official.

The NEPA, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, was set up in July 1978 in Ri-Bhoi District in northern Meghalaya to provide training to police officers and different categories of policemen from the northeastern states.

In view of the violent agitations, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), which operates trains in some parts of Bihar and West Bengal besides in entire northeastern region, either cancelled or rescheduled as many as 73 trains on Friday.

According to a press release issued by NFR Chief PRO Subhanan Chanda, important trains cancelled include Howrah-Kamrup Express, Kanyakumari Bibek Express, Guwahai Janshatabdi Express, Kanchanjungha Express, Humsafar Express.

"Rajdhani Express, which left New Delhi on December 12, would be short-terminated at Guwahati and would remain partially cancelled between Guwahati and Dibrugarh," the release said.

The New Delhi Rajdhani Express of December 16 would also remain partially cancelled between Dibrugarh and Guwahati and would start from Guwahati on December 17.

"Many trains of December 14, 15 and 16 would also remain cancelled in Assam," the release added.

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah separately met top leaders of three Tripura tribal based parties -- Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), junior ally of the ruling BJP; Joint Movement Against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (JMACAB), a conglomeration of many tribal parties; and Tripura People's Front (TPF) -- in New Delhi on Thursday and discussed the new citizenship law and other issues.

Former Tripura state Congress Chief and royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman, who quit the party a few months back over the CAB issue, also met Shah along with TPF supremo Patal Kanya Jamatia.

All the leaders of the three organisations have demanded that Tripura be kept out of the purview of the new citizenship law.

IPFT Assistant General Secretary and party spokesman Mangal Debbarma told IANS over phone from Delhi that they have also demanded more autonomy for Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) to protect and improve the socio-economic condition of the indigenous tribals, who form one-third of Tripura's four million population.

The IPFT has been agitating since 2009 for the creation of a separate state for the indigenous tribals by upgrading the TTAADC, which has jurisdiction over two-thirds of Tripura's 10,491 sq km area, home to over 12,16,000 people, mostly tribals.

Before becoming a law, the CAB was passed by both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha to provide Indian nationality to Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Parsis, Jains and Buddhists fleeing persecution in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh with a cut-off date of December 31, 2014.

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