12-hour bandh cripples life in Assam, hundreds arrested

Guwahati, Sep 12 (IANS) The 12-hour bandh called by the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) on Saturday crippled life in Assam. Reports of stray incidents of violence from districts across the state led to hundreds of bandh supporters being arrested.

The AJYCP had called the bandh in protest against the central government’s decision to grant citizenship to Bangladeshi and Pakistani non-Muslim migrants, who had entered India till December last year due to religious persecution.

At least 11 other organisations of the state including the Asom Gana Parishad and student organisations of Motock, Moran, Dimasa, Karbi, Goriya-Moriya, Sonowal-Kachari, Madahi and Bishnupuria Manipuri communities supported the bandh called by the AJYCP.

Schools, colleges, other educational institutions and commercial establishments remained closed during the bandh.

Vehicular traffic remained off the roads in most districts, except for a few buses of the Assam State Transport Corporation that plied in some areas.

Bandh supporters came out on to the streets in many areas to enforce the bandh in many districts. They blocked national and state highways by burning tyres.

In districts like Kamrup, Nagaon, Lakhimpur, Tinsukia and Dibrugarh, bandh supporters forced some drivers out of their vehicles and made them stand for several hours leading to stray incidents of violence.

Some of the supporters also partially destroyed some vehicles in Tezpur. This led to the arrest of scores of protesters, police said, adding that they were released later.

Meanwhile, Assam’s leading farmers’ body Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) launched a hunger strike at Dighalipukhuripar in Guwahati on Saturday to protest against the Centre’s move and said that they would launch a mass movement opposing the Centre’s decision.

“The government started updating the National Register of Citizens to make the state free of illegal Bangladeshi citizens. However, now the government takes a decision that all the non-Muslims from Bangladesh and Pakistan would be allowed to stay in India and would be given citizenship,” said KMSS leader Kamal Medhi.

“This is a condemnable move of the central government. This is not only against the people of Assam and against the spirit of the historical Assam Accord but also leads to a threat to national security,” Medhi said, adding that Saturday’s fast is just the beginning of a massive mass movement.

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