Assam on the boil as Bodoland demand gains momentum

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Photo: Archive
Photo: Tehelka Photo

Following the Telangana resolution, the demand for separate states has flared up in different corners of the country. In Assam’s Karbi Anglong district, protests for a separate Karbi state turned violent. The protesters ransacked and burnt down as many as 50 government offices, bungalows and institutions, including the All India Radio transmitter centre in Diphu.

An indefinite curfew has been declared in Karbi Anglong and the army has been called in. Protestors belonging to Karbi Students’ Association, Karbi Riso Adorba and other organisations attacked the residences of Congress MP Birensing Ingti, MLA Bidyasing Engleng, the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council’s Chief-Executive Member, Joyram Engleng and four of its other executive members. The agitators also removed fish plates on the main rail-link of Upper Assam to Guwahati. The North-east Frontier railway has asked the state government for more forces to keep the vital rail-link operational.

In retaliatory action, the police opened fire, leading to the death of one protester. A college student, who was critically injured during the agitation, also succumbed to his injuries. Over 25 people were injured and are being treated in the district hospital in Diphu.

The Hills State Democratic Party declared a 10-hour bandh demanding a separate state in the hill districts of Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong on the lines of Telangana. The party has also called for a 100-hour bandh in the two hill districts from 5 August.

Meanwhile in Lower Assam’s Rangiya and Goreswar, supporters of the All Koch Rajbonshi Students’ Union, agitating for a separate Kamtapur state, torched several vehicles. Police had to fire in the air to disperse the mob. On 2 August, the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) will stage a rail blockade at Kokrajhar, demanding a separate Bodoland. The powerful student body has also called for a 72-hour general strike from 3 August and threatened an indefinite economic blockade.

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Special Correspondent

A young IT professional by training and a journalist by chance, Ratnadip comes from the smallest Northeastern state of Tripura and has been reporting out of Northeast India for ten years, as of 2014. An award winning Journalist, Ratnadip started his career with the Tripura Observer and went on to work with the Northeast Sun, The Northeast Today, News Live, Sahara Time and The Sunday Indian. He has also contributed to BBC, CNN, NatGeo TV, NDTV, CNN-IBN and TIMES NOW. Before joining Tehelka, Ratnadip worked with the national bureau of the television news channel NewsX. He specialises in conflict reporting and has a keen interest in India’s eastern neighbours. He has won the RedInk Excellence in Journalism Award 2013, Northeast Green Journo Award 2013, LAADLI Media awards for Gender sensitivity 2013. He is among 10 young Indian scholars selected by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on trans-boundary river issues of the subcontinent. He is based in Guwahati.

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