Over 300 protestors were detained in three districts of Assam’s Barak Valley on Tuesday during a 12-hour bandh called by political parties to protest against the delimitation exercise of constituencies in the state, the draft proposal for which was published last week.
The bandh, initially called by the Barak Democratic Front (BDF) and later supported by the Congress, Trinamool Congress, and the AIUDF, began at 5 am with shops and business establishments closed in Cachar, Karimganj, and Hailakandi districts of the Valley.
Schools and government offices remained open but attendance was thin.
The number of vehicles was lower than usual in the three districts and the protestors were seen urging people who had come out on the streets to return home.
The police detained over 300 protestors, including Congress MLA from Karimganj (North) Kamalakhya De Purukayastha, and the party's Cachar district president Abhijit Paul.
Cachar Superintendent of Police Numal Mahatta said protestors from all parties have been detained as they were preventing people to go out for work.
"These are preventive arrests. We are trying to help the common people", he said.
According to the draft delimitation proposal published by the Election Commission, the number of assembly seats in the three districts will be reduced to 13 from the existing 15. There was also a proposal for a change in names of a few constituencies.
Several political leaders, including from the ruling BJP, have expressed their dissatisfaction over the draft proposals.
Transport Minister Parimal Suklabaidya, representing the Dholai assembly seat, said people of his constitutency are unhappy with the proposal for changing the name of the constituency from Dholai to Narsingpur.
Congress MLA Kamalakhya De Purukayastha said that the delimitation draft is a "conspiracy against the people of Barak Valley and also against a particular community".
In the draft delimitation document released on June 20, the poll body has proposed to retain the number of assembly seats in Assam at 126 and the Lok Sabha constituencies at 14.
The commission has also planned to alter the geographical boundaries of most of the constituencies, both assembly and the Lok Sabha, while eliminating some seats and creating a few new ones.
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