All stir in the eastern-front
Dimapur /Imphal,August 5
UPA’s decision to grant statehood to Talengana has stirred a hornet’s nest in the eastern front of India. As many as seven statehood demands have crippled India’s eastern states.
Assam is likely to witness several hundred hours of shutdown in the coming days with several organisations on Monday calling for 1,500 hours of bandh.They include the All Bodo Students Union’s (ABSU) calling for a 48-hour Assam strike and the United Democratic Peoples Front’s (UDPF) a 1,500 hours of shutdown which began on Monday.The All Koch Rajbongshi Students Union (AKRSU), which seeks a separate Kamatapur state, called for a 36-hour Assam strike. The banned Karbi Peoples Liberation Tigers (KPLT) has called for 300 hours of bandh demanding a separate Karbi state on the lines of Telengana.
The shutdowns have already made life difficult for people, disrupting rail and road communication in the region.
Five lower Assam districts — Chirang, Bongaingaon, Baksa, Kokrajhar and Sonitpur, besides part of Lakhimpur in upper Assam were affected in the bandh.
The Northeast Frontier railway cancelled 13 long-distance trains. “Train movement through the Rangia-Bijni-New Bongaigaon section was affected till afternoon. The services resumed later,” a railway spokesman, said. Passenger trains, which were running in the affected sections, have been given adequate security, the officials said.
It is feared that the shutdowns will affect the entire northeast region as supply of food and other essential products will be hit. Goods carriers will be stopped when they enter Assam, leading to shortages. Road traffic was paralysed in the lower Assam districts as bandh supporters squatted at several places on NH 31 and 53, the sources said. Police reported violence during the protest on Monday in Sonitpur, Dhubri, Bilasipara, Manja.
A motorcycle was torched at Kalakuchi under Misamari police station and another in Bhalukpung area along the Assam-Arunachal border under Charduwar police station in Sonitpur district. Some vehicles, including buses and trucks, were also damaged in Balipara-Khelmati area.
A delegation of Bodo legislators, MPs and members of the Bodoland Territorial Council left for New Delhi to meet the UPA government leaders to press for Bodoland. Leaders from Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao autonomous councils are camping in Delhi to campaign for Karbi state and Dimaraji state.
Life was hit in the Karbi Anglong district, where a demand has risen for a separate autonomous Karbi state. Four persons were arrested by security forces after an attempt was made to torch the forest range office at Manja in Karbi Anglong.
ABSU president Promod Boro told reporters at Rawta that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde are responsible for their wrong decision to create a new state (of Telangana) in an isolated manner. “We are deprived of our fundamental rights, our right to equality, political rights and language and cultural rights to preserve and protect our identity,” Bodo said.
Bolstered by the demands for Bodo and Karbi states gaining momentum, the Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC) is planning to take up a series of agitation for a separate Kuki state in Manipur. KSDC spokesperson K Khongsai and its vice-chairperson TS Haokip said they would soon announce the schedule of the agitation. The Kuki leaders said since 1960, they have submitted around 60 memoranda to the Centre. The first one was submitted to the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on March 24, 1960, Haokip claimed.
Demand for Dimasa statehood is likely to begin soon. The All Dimasa Students Union (ADSU) and other fraternal organizations have asked the people to join their movement for Dimasa state.
In West Bengal,there was simmering tension in Darjeeling hills on the third day of the indefinite bandh by Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) as a silent procession with the body of a party supporter, who died after immolating himself over Gorkhaland demand, began its last journey in Kalimpong.
Official sources said additional security personnel, including police, were deployed in Kalimpong in view of the prevailing situation. The silent procession with the body of Mangal Singh Rajput, the GJM worker, who had immolated himself seven days ago and died on Saturday in a Siliguri hospital, began from Dumbar chowk in Kalimpong.
GJM president Bimal Gurung, who has reached Kalimpong to attend the funeral, criticised the government over the detaining of four GJM workers this morning for trying to block the entrance of the district magistrate’s office. “We will intensify agitation if the West Bengal government does not stop its repression of the hill people,” Gurung said.
Candle light marches in Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong were organized by GJM in support of the statehood demand. Life continued to be paralysed due to the GJM-sponsored bandh. Shops and markets, educational institutions and private offices remained closed and vehicles kept off the roads. As many as ten thousand students both day scholars and boarders have been caught in the midst of the flare up.
But in one instance better sense seems to have prevailed over the agitators. The Raman hydel power project, which had been shut down by the statehood agitators on Saturday, resumed work during the day with CRPF’s help, official sources said.