The Telegraph
Friday , August 22 , 2014
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Strike cripples life in Assam
Bandh total but peaceful

Army personnel stage a flag march in Golaghat on Thursday. Picture by UB Photos

Aug. 21: The 12-hour Assam bandh called by the AGP, the All Assam Tea Tribe Students’ Association and some other organisations from 5am to protest the violence along the state’s boundary with Nagaland and the police firing on protesters crippled life across the state today.

In Guwahati, bandh supporters threw stones at an Assam State Transport Corporation bus and broke its windshield near the Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner’s office this morning.

AGP workers and leaders took out a protest march. About 50 of them were taken into preventive custody during picketing. They were released in the afternoon.

Autorickshaws and buses remained off the streets, shops downed shutters fearing action by bandh supporters, schools and colleges remained closed and private offices registered thin attendance in the city.

A deserted flyover in Guwahati on Thursday during the 12-hour Assam bandh. (PTI)

Similar scenes prevailed in the Upper Assam districts of Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Jorhat, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji with offices remaining shut and vehicles off the roads. Most business establishments remained closed in Dibrugarh town but no untoward incident was reported in the district during the bandh, the officer-in-charge of Dibrugarh police outpost, Naba Kumar Bora, told The Telegraph. AATSA members burnt an effigy of chief minister Tarun Gogoi and staged protests in some parts of the district.

The two hills districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao remained shut but the effect of the bandh was partial in their respective district headquarters of Diphu and Haflong. Some offices and educational institutions remained open but no untoward incident was reported.

The bandh was total in the central Assam districts of Nagaon, Morigaon and Sonitpur and the lower Assam districts of Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari and Kamrup, officials said.

Several trains were stopped by protesters at different stations in Upper Assam.

Deputy inspector-general of police (eastern range) Satyen Gogoi said the bandh passed off peacefully.

The AGP blamed both the Union and state governments for the border violence, which has led to the death of at least 14 people. Besides, four persons were killed during police action on protesters in Golaghat in the past two days.

A statement issued by the party today said, “Not only has the Congress government in the state failed to protect the lives of Assamese people living on the border with Nagaland, the incident has also exposed the BJP-led government at the Centre. When the state failed, the Centre could have stepped in to ensure that nothing untoward happened after the incident. But it did nothing.”

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti organised a citizens’ meet in Guwahati today. Prominent citizens, student leaders, lawyers and activists discussed the situation and criticised the state government for failing to control it.

The meeting decided that a group of prominent citizens will soon submit a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Rajnath Singh, seeking a permanent solution to the boundary conflicts with Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.

They also demanded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the kin of those who died during the violence and Rs 5 lakh each to the injured and those whose houses were burnt.

“We demand that the compensation should be borne by the Assam and Nagaland governments as well as the Centre as all are responsible for the death of innocent people,” KMSS president Akhil Gogoi said in the meeting.

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