Guwahati: Peasant leader Akhil Gogoi, arrested under the stringent UAPA amid protests over the amended citizenship law, was sent to 10-day NIA custody on Tuesday by a special court here.
Gogoi was arrested on December 12 in Jorhat under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or UAPA amid widespread violent protests in the state and was later handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) leader was brought to the city from Jorhat amid tight security and was produced at the court, which remanded him to 10-day NIA custody.
The court also directed the NIA to ensure regular medical checkup of Gogoi, and allow his family members and lawyers to meet.
As the firebrand leader was being taken to the court, he shouted at waiting journalists that he has been subjected to "prochondo atyachar (extreme torture)".
"The agitation must not stop. I appeal to people to continue the protests till the law is repealed," he continued as security personnel rushed him to the courtroom.
Meanhwile, protesters came out in large numbers across Assam on Tuesday demanding repeal of the amended Citizenship Act (CAA) and condemning Prime Minister Narendra Modi for "ridiculing" the agitators with his comment that protesters could be identified by the clothes they were wearing.
During the day, All Assam Student Union (AASU) leaders Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya and Lurinjyoti Gogoi, along with actor Barsha Rani Bishaya and hundreds of other agitators courted arrest for the second consecutive day on Tuesday as part of their 'Mass Satyagraha' against the amended citizenship law, police said.
Internet Suspension Hits Banking, Other Services
Suspension of internet in Assam has affected commercial activities dependent on online transactions and mobile applications, particularly banking, cab services, food delivery and e-commerce sectors.
Internet services have been suspended in Assam since December 11 following protests against the citizenship law.
Broadband services were restored on Tuesday but mobile internet remained suspended causing hardship to people dependent on mobile apps and other online services.
People are facing difficulties in withdrawing or transferring money online and as there is no internet, debit and credit cards also cannot be used for making online transactions, several bank customers told PTI.
"We conducted most of our banking transactions online or through debit and credit cards but over the past six days, we have become dependent on cash," 26-year old businessman Mohit Jain said.
Bank officials said they have dedicated internet lines which are working but most customers dependent on mobile network were not being able to conduct transactions.
With a halt on online transactions, people have become more dependent on cash leading to its shortage in the ATMs, they said.
Hemanta Kalita of Chandmari area of the city said he had waited for more than an hour outside an ATM to withdraw cash so that he could buy stock for his shop from the Fancy Bazaar wholesale market but cash ran out in the kiosk forcing him to shun his plan.
The worst affected, however, are mobile app-dependent cab and bike services like Ola, Uber and Rapido.
Ola and Uber cab drivers had staged a protest on Tuesday by lining their vehicles on the streets and seeking alms.
The agitating drivers said for the last six days, they have not been able to earn anything due to the suspension of mobile internet services.
Demanding that mobile internet services be restored, president of Guwahati Cab Drivers Association, Ibrahim Ali said, "Several youths from poor financial backgrounds run their families and pay bank instalments with their earnings as cab drivers."
Students are also facing difficulties in submitting applications online.
"I was scheduled to submit my applications for higher studies to foreign universities this week but I am not been able to do that. If internet services remain suspended, I might have to go outside the state to submit them," undergraduate student Pallavi Sarma said.
Several people, who were planning to travel during the upcoming festive season of Assam, are also unable to book flight or train tickets online.