ST Bill: Assam Bandh Affects Normal Life, Stones Pelted At Vehicles

The Centre’s plan for the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019, has evoked anger among tribal communities in Assam
The Centre’s plan for the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2019, has evoked anger among tribal communities in Assam

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.

Daily commuters, office goers and students suffered as public vehicles stayed off roads. Photo: TIME8
Daily commuters, office goers and students suffered as public vehicles stayed off roads. Photo: TIME8

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.

Incidents of stone pelting on vehicles were reported in Tamulpur and Jagiroad. Photo: TIME8
Incidents of stone pelting on vehicles were reported in Tamulpur and Jagiroad. Photo: TIME8

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.

Shops remained closed due to the 12-hour Assam Bandh. Photo: TIME8
Shops remained closed due to the 12-hour Assam Bandh. Photo: TIME8

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.

The bandh supporters also took out a rally. Photo: TIME8
The bandh supporters also took out a rally. Photo: TIME8

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