Tamulpur/Jagiroad, February 13, 2019
The 12-hour Assam Bandh to protest the Centre’s move to grant ST status to six communities of Assam affected normal life in Lower Assam on February 13th, 2019 as public vehicles remained off roads, while stones were thrown at vehicles. The Bandh was called by the Coordination Committee of the Tribal Organizations of Assam (CCTOA).
The controversial Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is likely to be tabled in the Rajya Sabha on February 13th, 2019. The six communities are- Tai-Ahom, Chutiya, Moran, Muttock, Koch-Rajbonghsis, and tea tribes.
The demonstrators burnt tyres on roads in various places of the state. Several agitators were picked up from various places in the state for blocking roads and attempting to shut shops. Shops and business establishments in many places, including in several parts of Upper Assam, remained closed. Buses were vandalised at many places in Tamulpur.
The picketers hurled stones and boulders to duty-bound private and public vehicles. Picketers were seen blocking vehicles. The picketers hurled stones at a Guwahati-bound truck which lost control and hit a divider on the Rangia-Bhutan highway in Tamulpur, Baksa. The truck driver also sustained injuries due to the stone pelting. A total shutdown was witnessed in Tamulpur’s Kumarikata, Dwarkuchi Kalakuchi, Dimlapara, Puran Chowk among others.
On the other hand, normal life was badly affected in Jagiroar, Morigaon. Sporadic violence was reported in the district. The bandh supporters burnt tyres and also stoned the vehicles. A vehicle belonging to the BSF was pelted with stones.
It may be mentioned that the Centre’s plan for the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019, has evoked anger among tribal communities in Assam. The All Bodo Students’ Union also opposed the Centre’s move to grant Scheduled Tribes (ST) status to the six communities.
Inputs: Abhijit Talukdar & Tulsi Manta