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Akhil opposes ban on strikes

- KMSS also protests disturbed tag extension

Guwahati, Dec. 5: The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) today said it would step up protests against a draft law prepared by the Assam government to ban strikes and extension of the “disturbed area” tag by the Centre.

The peasants’ organisation today held a citizens’ meet here at Guwahati Press Club to discuss the draft.

Social scientist Hiren Gohain, educationist Dinesh Baishya, former MLA Ajoy Dutta, lawyers Nekibur Zaman and Bijan Mahajan, among others, took part in the discussion. KMSS chief Akhil Gogoi condemned the Centre’s decision to extend the “disturbed area” tag saying the governments at the Centre and at the state had failed to maintain law and order in the state. He also opposed the draft law to ban strikes.

“Both are anti-democratic and aimed at silencing the organisations raising voices against the government’s failure regarding genuine issues of the common people. The KMSS will continue to oppose it and try to build a strong public opinion,” Akhil said.

The KMSS had earlier opposed the draft law, terming it an attempt by the state government to curb peaceful and democratic protests against its failures.

“The KMSS is not in favour of frequent strikes that has affected the state. In the past eight years we have not given any bandh call except one when people spontaneously downed shutters to oppose my arrest in 2011. We are against the government’s act to prohibit bandhs totally as it will allow the administration to stop spontaneous bandhs for a genuine reason,” Akhil had said.

The state government prepared a draft law — Assam Prevention of Unconstitutional Bandh Act, 2013 — which states that a strike is unconstitutional and an offence as no individual or organisation has the right to “paralyse” the educational, economic and industrial systems.

The draft says participation in strikes will invite imprisonment up to two years and a fine of Rs 10,000 per day failing which one will have to face another two years in jail.

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