| Netaji Subhas road in Dhubri during the curfew relaxation period on Friday. Picture by Bijoy Kr Sarma |
Dhubri, Nov. 2: It is a century of the dubious kind — one that has not left people feeling proud and wanting more but fretting.
Dhubri town today completed 100 days of curfew since it was first clamped on July 23 after group clashes during the AAMSU-sponsored strike against the violence in BTAD.
Add to the canvas the 11 strikes during this period and the picture of misery is complete. Education and business have taken the biggest hit, as has normal day-to-day living.
A prominent businessman of Dhubri town, Sanjoy More, who deals in wholesale grocery items, resented the disturbances and unrest since July that had hit trade and business in the town. “There has been a gross loss of around 60 to 70 per cent in the grocery trade as most businessmen from the south bank of Dhubri district, Garo hills of Meghalaya and Goalpara have totally stopped coming to Dhubri to buy goods.”
North East Distributors’ Association (lower Assam) working president Bhagawati Bajaj said the prolonged disturbance had hit the backbone of Dhubri’s economy and that it would take time to recover from the losses.
Though Kali Puja, Diwali and Chhath Puja are lined up this month, traders here are apprehensive about doing good business. They said there was little hope left for good business this month given the dusk to dawn curfew.
Pre-Puja business, too, had been below average.
As far as academics are concerned, the strikes and curfew have taken their toll.
A source in the education department said there were altogether 21 schools and colleges in the town but regular classes were hardly being held owing to thin attendance in the classes.
Dhubri Girls Junior College principal Sanowar Hussain, while resenting the situation, said regular classes might be held from next Tuesday. “We are extremely worried about the loss of precious academic time because of the prevailing unrest in the town. We are seriously thinking as to how to make up for lost time in the days to come if the situation improves.”
Though there has been no untoward incident during the past three days, reports of intimidation along communal lines keep surfacing.
Police, on the other hand, are facing flak for arresting innocents.
Dhubri additional superintendent of police Prasanta Dutta said 50 people had been arrested for being allegedly involved in the rioting. “We are arresting those who were allegedly involved in rioting and will continue to do so as long as the criminals are at large.”
Dutta said peace was fast returning to the town and added that police were fully prepared meet any eventuality during the festivals ahead.
The Dhubri district magistrate today relaxed the period of curfew from 5am to 8pm in view of improved law and order situation.