12 hour bandh disrupts normal life in Assam

GUWAHATI, Jul 23 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 7/24/2018 12:27:56 AM IST
A 12-hour bandh called jointly by organizations representing six ethnic communities on Monday  disrupted life in eastern Assam districts, Bongaigaon and Kokrajhar districts in Western Assam and Sonitpur district in North Assam  where  all sorts of vehicles remained off the road while business establishments kept the shutters down, The Shillong Times reported.
The bandh has paralysed life in eastern Assam towns like Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Moran  causing serious inconvenience to the life of common people and students. The organizers in fact, had called for a 48-hour bandh but reduced the bandh period to 12 hours only in view of the hardship caused to the common people. However, the bandh had no impact at all in Central Assam, Guwahati city and other parts of Western Assam. The United Forum of  ethnic communities in Assam who have been agitating for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, has vowed to teach the ruling BJP a lesson in the next Lok Sabha election  if the BJP-led government at the Centre fails to accord ST status to them even if through an ordinance.
They have called for the bandh after their last round of tri-partite talks held in New Delhi on Friday with Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju in the chair failed to give then any assurance on part of the Centre to take a some concrete steps to resolve the issue over their long-standing demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
The representative organizations of the six communities – Tai-Ahom, Moran, Motok, Chutia, Koch-Rajbongshi and Tea Tribe – have spit fire over failure of the Central government constituted modality committee to submit its report though the committee was formed way back on February 28, 2016 and was supposed to submit its report within three months.
“Before the Lok Sabha election in 2014, the BJP promised to solve the issue or our ST status within six months if it comes to power. The BJP-led government at the Centre formed the modality committee just before Assam Assembly election in 2016 and held tripartite talks before holding of by-election to Lakhimpur Lok Sabha constituency in Assam. They called us for another round of tripartite talks in New Delhi on Friday keeping in mind the forthcoming panchayat polls in Assam. But the Centre doesn’t look serious at all about resolving the issue. This hog wash can’t go on,” said Arunjyoti Moran, president of All Moran Students’ Association.
The leadership of the United Forum of the six ethnic communities is very much aggrieved as the  Union Minister of state for Home, Kiren Rijiju left the meeting midway failing to answer volleys of questions thrown at him by the representatives of the committee. “The six ethnic communities with a total population of over 1.60 crore decide results of election in 35-40 Legislative Assembly Constituencies (LAC). It is because of the support of our communities the BJP won seven Lok Sabha seats in the last Lok Sabha election. The BJP will face the music in the next Lok Sabha polls if it does get serious about resolving our issue before that,” said Ashwini Kumar Chetia, chief adviser of All Assam Tai Ahom Students Union (AATASU).

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