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FIR lodged against Barak organisations for defacing govt hoardings in Assamese

FIR lodged against Barak organisations for defacing govt hoardings in Assamese
Dr. Rajdeep Roy, Lok Sabha MP, shared pictures of the defaced posters and asked people to steer clear of divisive elements. (Twitter. Dr Rajdeep Roy)
Silchar, Oct 19 (PTI) | Publish Date: 10/19/2021 11:54:26 AM IST

An FIR has been lodged against local organisations here for allegedly smearing a state government hoarding written in Assamese with black ink in the Barak valley an area predominated by Bengali speakers, a senior police officer said on Tuesday.  

Government signposts and hoardings in the valley where more than 3.6 million people live have  since the 1960s been tri-lingual, including in Bengali. However, new hoardings put up by the Jal Jeevan Mission were in Assamese only.

Cachar superintendent of police Ramandeep Kaur said a complaint had been lodged by officials of Jal Jeevan Mission against the  defacing of its hoardings in Silchar town.

“On the basis of the complaint, we have registered an FIR at Silchar Sadar police station on Monday,” she said.

“Appropriate action will be taken against the culprits after investigation,” the SP added.  Visuals showed alleged activists climbing a ladder and defacing the hoarding which was in Assamese language  in front of Silchar Railway station. They also wrote ‘Bangla Likhun’ (write in Bengali) and the names of two organisations below it.

Barak Democratic Yuva Front leader Pradip Dutta Roy, reacting to the FIR, however questioned the decision to use only Assamese language in Government advertisements in Barak Valley, despite a decision to use Bengali also as an authorised official language in this part of the state after a language agitation in the 1960s.

Besides the BDYF, activists of All Bengali Students Youth Organisation (ABSYO) were also allegedly involved in the defacing incident. Silchar MP Rajdeep Roy reacting to the incident alleged it could be part of a conspiracy to incite  violence in the name of language in the state and warned “people from falling prey to such designs.”

Trinamool Congress  leader Susmita Dev said though she does not support blackening of hoardings, alleged the hoardings  ‘disrespected’ the Language Act.

The Assam Official Language Act, 1960, adopted Assamese as the official language of the state, but included provisions for use of Bengali for all administrative and official purposes in the Bengali-majority Barak Valley of the state, comprising Cachar, Karimganj, and Hailakandi districts.

The use of  Bengali language for official purposes was authorised following a mass movement by the Bengali-speaking population in Barak valley, which saw the death of 11 protestors in police firing at Silchar Railway Station on May 16, 1961. 

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