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A strike every two days

- Lower Assam districts worst sufferers of blockades

Dhubri, March 4: Only 63 days into the new year and lower Assam has shut down for 26 days by way of strikes and rail and road blockades.

Fed up with a shutdown almost every two and a half days, various organisations and social workers have raised strong voices, questioning the process of showing dissent.

Sources in bus and truck owners’ associations said there had been as many as 98 days of strikes and blockades last year.

“Is there no other way to register protests? Will the organisation calling strike and blockade ponder over it seriously and give respite to the people?” asked Dhruba Kumar Sen, president of the Dhubri District Bus Owners’ Association.

Sen said apart from making life miserable for the people, the strikes and blockades are ruining the economy of lower Assam.

“The transport industry is the worst sufferer because during strikes, wheels stop moving first. But the government and political parties have not shown any interest so far to put a halt to this menace,” Sen said.

AASU state organising secretary Putul Roy Pradhani said the students’ organisation had put a halt to bandh culture long ago and is very cautious on calling a strike. “Students appearing for HSLC and HS examinations are facing deep trouble as many have to travel long distances to reach their examination centres,” Roy said.

He said they honour the democratic right of the people to protest but at the same time no one has any right to encroach upon others’ rightto lead a normal life.

A prominent social activist, Partho Pratim Ghose of Dhubri, while expressing deep resentment over frequent strikes and blockades, said because of the soft attitude of the government and local administrations, the situation has come to such a pass.

“There is a Supreme Court verdict banning strikes. Moreover, a division bench of Chief Justices J. Chelameswar and A.C. Upadhyay of Gauhati High Court, on February 8, 2010, banned strikes but still the government has shown lenient attitude towards those who call the strikes and blockades,” Ghose said.

Apart from normal life of the people, socio-cultural and religious functions have also been affected in lower Assam districts.