12-hour bandh affects normal life in some districts of Assam, 700 protesters detained

File photo. Photograph:( ANI )

PTI Guwahati, Assam, India Nov 03, 2018, 09.07 PM (IST)

Protestors squatted on railway tracks, pelted stones at vehicles and burnt tyres on roads in some districts of Assam during a 12-hour state-wide bandh on Saturday, called to protest the gunning down of five men in Tinsukia district.

The police detained over 700 protesters in the bandh, the impact of which was partial across the state barring Bengali-dominated Barak valley and a few places in Brahmaputra valley where normal life was considerably affected. 

There was no impact of the bandh in state capital Guwahati where all establishments and vehicles functioned normally.

"715 picketers detained across the state until now. We stand resolute on our promise of ensuring public order for the people of #Assam (sic)," the state police said on microblogging site Twitter.

Shops, business establishments, education institutions and private offices remained closed and most vehicles stayed off the roads in the Barak Valley districts of Cachar,

Karimganj and Hailakandi due to the bandh which was called by the All Assam Bangali Yuba Chatra Federation, All Assam Bengali Students Union and some other like-minded organisations to protest the killings of five Bengali-speaking men, including three of a family, by gunmen at Kheronibari village on Thursday.

The bandh in Barak Valley was supported by Opposition Congress. The ruling BJP extended support to it in Hailakandi as per its district president Subrata Nath.
Congress MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha, who hit the streets in Silchar to impose the bandh, was picked up by the police, officials said, adding that the legislator was released later.

Demanding security for Bengali-speaking people, agitators squatted on the tracks at Lumding Rail Station in Hojai district to block the movements of Brahmaputra Express and other trains, officials said. The agitators were soon removed from the tracks.

The bandh supporters burnt tyres on the roads at various places across the state, but were cleared by security personnel promptly, police said.
At Samuguri and Amoni in Hojai, bandh picketers and supporters blocking the highway pelted stones at vehicles, damaging several buses and trucks.

There were reports of clashes between supporters of the bandh and those opposing it at Jogighopa in Bongaigaon district, but the situation was brought under control soon.

The bandh had minimal impact in Guwahati, where normal life continued as usual. Offices, commercial establishments, educational institutions and banks remained open. Buses and other modes of public transport plied on the roads like any other day.

The bandh sponsors exempted Tinsukia and Dibrugarh from their bandh call as the two districts had observed a similar strike yesterday from 5 am to protest against the killings.

On Friday, the Assam government in a written order had directed deputy commissioners to ensure normal functioning of all government establishments, smooth vehicular movement and opening of business establishments.

The order also directed all security agencies to be kept on high alert to prevent any breach of peace which may lead to law and order issues. 

 

Story highlights

There was no impact of the bandh in state capital Guwahati where all establishments and vehicles functioned normally.