Assam: Bandh evokes mixed response in state
GUWAHATI, July 24, 2018: Janagosthiyo Oikya Mancha – an umbrella body of six communities called 48-hour Assam bandh demanding Scheduled Tribes (ST) status – paralysed normal life in Upper Assam and evoked a mixed response in lower Assam.
Except protests by enforcers in some areas, no untoward incident has been reported.
On account of matric compartmental examinations and university entrance examinations, the bandh duration was reduced to 12 hours. Long-distance commuters were the worst-hit across Assam.
The bandh had no impact on Kamrup (metro) district and the Barak Valley but Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Nagaon, and Morigaon districts bore the brunt. The bandh was partial in Goalpara, Bongagaigaon, Chirang and Dhubri.
Despite Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal trying to reach out to them on Saturday after the talks in Delhi failed, six communities leaders went ahead with their demand. Sonowal had said on Saturday that the process of getting ST status is getting prolonged because of technical complications but assured them that the government would take it in the right direction.
Dispur had even invited the leaders for a meeting at the secretariat on Sunday but the organisations refused to attend it since nothing materialised at the Delhi meeting convened by the ministry of home affairs on July 20.
All Moran Students' Union (Amsu) president Arunjyoti Moran said, "Narendra Modi and Sarbananda Sonowal had promised to give ST status to six communities within a year of coming to power. Even after more than two years there is no progress. They lied to us just to secure votes. The government is responsible for the inconvenience caused to public because of the bandh."
Moran said, "The government is not serious about granting ST status to six communities and scrapping of Citizenship (amendment) Bill, 2016. The Centre's lackadaisical attitude to the demands was reflected in our recent meeting at North Block."
Moran said, "The protest will only grow louder from here and the government will face the music. However, keeping in mind the ongoing matric compartmental examinations, all the organisations have jointly decided to reduce the bandh to 12 hours."
He said they would not soften their stand and will organise a meeting of the Mancha in Golaghat on Wednesday to decide the course of action.
He added that the Amsu would participate in the hunger strike scheduled on July 30 in New Delhi. "The protest will only intensify till our demands are met," Moran said.
Source: The Telegraph
Featured image: The Telegraph