Kokrajhar, March 1: Normal life was affected and a bike torched on the first day of the 100-hour bandh called by the Peoples’ Joint Action Committee for Boroland Movement since midnight last night.
The committee has called the strike in the proposed Bodoland area, comprising BTAD and adjoining tribal-dominated areas, in protest against the state government’s “lackadaisical” attitude towards their demand for a separate state under Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution. The committee also wants the Centre to hold a dialogue with the NDFB (Progressive) at the highest political level.
Business establishments remained closed throughout the day and offices registered thin attendance. Public vehicles remained off the roads, including NH 31(C), which connects the Northeast with the rest of the country. A bike was torched near Bajwi hotel in the heart of this town in the wee hours this morning.
Though exams are exempted from its purview, the strike is a major concern for students and guardians, especially those from the remote areas who have to travel miles by bus or other private vehicles to appear for exams. Weddings, religious events, healthcare services, water and milk supply and electricity have also been exempted.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the Centre-NDFB (P) talks, chief convener of the committee, Jebra Ram Muchahary, said the talks, which was being held at the official level, was “disgusting and inappropriate” and could in no way solve the political issue of a separate state. He demanded that it should be settled at the highest political level.
The NDFB (P) had stayed away from a tripartite meeting in New Delhi yesterday to press for its demand for a dialogue at the highest political level under the chairmanship of Union home minister, its information and publicity secretary S. Sanjarang said.
Joint secretary in the ministry of home affairs Sambhu Singh and former Intelligence Bureau chief P.C. Haldar, who is the interlocutor in the ongoing Bodoland peace process, visited Guwahati today to hold discussions with state government officials on the NDFB (P)’s non-participation in yesterday’s talks.