DIBRUGARH, Oct 23 - The city practically came to a total halt during the 12-hour state-wide shut down called by some 46 organisations in protest against the Centre�s attempt to introduce the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Parliament.
Notwithstanding the deployment and patrolling of police and CRPF personnel in and around the city here, hundreds of picketers led by Krishak Mukti Sangram Sammittee (KMSS) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) swarmed the commercial hub of the city since pre-dawn hours with motorbikes to enforce the bandh. A group of picketers who arrived in the city in a luxury bus also took out a protest march from Chowkidinghee to Thana Chariali with police escort.
Although the cops on duty arrested some hundred picketers, the police and the district administration totally failed to prevent the bandh. All business establishments, educational and financial institutions remained shut. The roads also wore a deserted look as all modes of vehicles were kept off the roads. Police had escorted one ASTC bus out of the town in the morning but no commercial vehicles moved thereafter.
A section of traders today slammed the district administration and the police for failing to provide security to the business community during the bandh as picketers tried to enforce the bandh in the busy HS Road, Marwaripatty and other areas of the city. The picketers also vandalised the entrance of one bakery and confectionery shop besides causing hurt to a few vendors.
It must be mentioned here that the district administration had on Monday appealed to the people not to respond to the bandh call. The administration had urged traders, institutions, banks and other establishments to remain open as on normal days.
Tinsukia: The 12-hour Assam bandh hit normal life in Tinsukia district today. All the shops and establishments kept their shutters down. On the other hand, all vehicles, except some small private vehicles, remained off the roads. Bandh supporters burnt tyres etc., on the roads in several places of the district. There were reports of stone pelting on buses also in some places. All educational and financial institutions too remain closed. Attendance in Government offices was very thin.
However, the production activities of the oil, coal and tea sectors were not affected by the bandh call.
Doomdooma: The dawn-to-dusk Assam bandh call given today by several organisations of the State in protest against the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 evoked total response in Doomdooma circle and Sadiya subdivision. People extended spontaneous support to the bandh at Doomdooma, Borhapjan, Hansara, Phillobari, Rupai Siding, Kakopothar, Talap, Dangari, Dholla and Chapakhowa regions. All shops and other business establishments, banks and insurance offices remained closed and except a few bikes, other vehicles were off the roads. Though the offices of educational institutions were kept open, but normal classes were completely paralysed due to non-attendance of students. On the other hand, attendance in government offices was also very thin. However, normal work in the tea gardens here was not affected by the bandh. The bandh supporters burnt tyres at many places. No untoward incident was reported from any part of the region.
In protest against the proposed bill, a section of people organised a street corner meeting at Gandhi Chowk of Doomdooma town. Addressing the meeting, Arjun Baruah, Govinda Phookan, Hemanta Bora, Deben Deka, Suresh Bhumij and a few others strongly opposed the proposed bill and criticised the BJP-led Central and the State governments for their stand.
Digboi: The historic oil town of Digboi wore a deserted look today as the Assam bandh call evoked total response. Despite government directives, the presence of employees in various departments was thin, private and commercial vehicles were off the roads, commercial ventures pulled down their shutters and educational institutions remained closed across the town. However, the AOD operations at all vital plants continued and the refinery sector remained unaffected.
Supporting the 12-hour bandh call given by KMSS, AJYCP, AAMSU and several other organisations across the State, Jiten Dutta, the pro-talk ULFA leader said that the people of Assam are not prepared to bear the brunt of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which is against the interests of the indigenous people of Assam. �There would be violence across the State if the fate of the indigenous Assamese people is put at stake by the BJP-led Governments at the Centre as well as the State, by being indifferent to the cries of the natives. Assam cannot be a second Tripura and Kashmir,� Dutta said while handing out a warning to the so-called 25 Bengali organisations, who have been preparing for a convention on November 17 next at Guwahati.
A motorcycle rally was also conducted throughout the town by agitating youths of various organisations. Mahesh Bora, the OC Digboi PS said that the demonstrators, who were trying to prevent train movement by sitting on tracks, were evicted.
Sivasagar: The government�s attempt to ensure attendance of all employees in office worked, as offices and educational institutions were full of them, but not the general people and students who stayed off. The streets of Sivasagar wore a deserted look during the dawn-to-dusk bandh called by an umbrella of several organisations today in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Normal work in all offices and production centres of ONGC Sivasagar-Nazira continued undisturbed as the ONGC administration ensured attendance of employees in advance.
Dhemaji: Normal life in Dhemaji district came to a grinding halt today as the Assam bandh evoked total response across the district.
Shops and commercial establishments, banks, educational institutions remained closed, while vehicular movement was off the roads. Attendance in government offices at Dhemaji and Jonai was thin.
The protesters blocked the National Highway-15 at several portions of Gogamukh, Dhemaji, Silapathar and Jonai under the district by burning tyres and felling trees in the morning and staging strident protests. Dhemaji town wore an abandoned look since morning, as the business communities kept their shutters down for the day extending moral support to the bandh call.
The bandh call, however, adversely affected the Arunachali people. Many goods trucks, passenger vehicles and night super buses were stranded at Ruksin and Likabali check gates to enter Assam for their journey to capital city Itanagar and other places.
Silapathar: The Assam bandh passed off peacefully at Silapathar and its adjoining areas today. Several protesters were arrested from Silapathar main road in the morning. Schools, colleges, financial institutions, shops, business establishments remained closed. Vehicles remained off the roads
North Lakhimpur: The 12-hour Assam bandh called by many indigenous organisations of the State, led by KMSS, AJYCP, MASS, All Assam Tai Ahom Students� Union etc., in protest against the Centre�s bid to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in the winter session of Parliament crippled normal life in the entire Lakhimpur district. The bandh was total in the district as all shops and business establishments were completely shut down during the day today. Banks, post offices and other financial institutions remained totally closed. Vehicular traffic was completely off the roads during the day. There was no attendance by students in all educational institutes while the teachers and office staff were seen attending due to the strict orders of the district administration. Though the judicial court remained open, there was no attendance of the public. In North Lakhimpur, the bandh was marred by several incidents of blocking of roads by burning tyres by bandh supporters at different parts including on the NH-15 from Narayanpur to Gogamukh. The bandh supporters also stopped the Rangiya-Murkongselek Express train at North Lakhimpur railway station in the morning. Police arrested several members of KMSS, AJYCP, AATASU during the bandh.
Bokakhat: The 12-hour Assam bandh passed off peacefully in Bokakhat subdivision with full response from the public. Though the government offices remained open, the public attendance was nearly nil. No untoward incident was reported.
Kaziranga: Normal life was paralysed in Kaziranga following the 12-hour Assam bandh today. The public transport system and shops and business establishments remained closed. But schools, educational institutions and government offices remained open. There was no untoward incident in Kaziranga area, said an official of the Bokakhat subdivisional administration. Though the commuters had a difficult time, tourist safaris inside the park, was not affected.
Dergaon: The 12 hour bandh called by several organisations paralysed normal life at Dergaon today. During the bandh, no passenger vehicles plied on NH 37 and PHCG Road. Banks and the business establishments remained closed while the government offices registered normal attendance. A passenger train was blocked at Furkating. Roads were also blocked at Dergaon Chariali, Negheriting, Balijan etc.
Jorhat: Normal life was completely paralysed today in the upper Assam districts of Golaghat, Jorhat, Sivasagar, Chariadeo and Majuli island today following a 12-hour bandh call from 5 am given by KMSS, AJYCP and over 40 other organisations opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. Apart from some sporadic incidents of violence, the bandh period passed off by and large peacefully in the districts.
Official sources said that business establishments, educational institutions, banks, commercial houses remained closed totally while vehicular traffic kept off the roads, except for a few private vehicles. Government offices witnessed almost nil attendance.
The bandh supporters reportedly damaged a few vehicles in the morning. A night-super passenger bus coming from Guwahati to Amguri (Sivasagar district) had its front glass damaged after bandh supporters pelted stones at the AT Road near the Marwari Thakurbari here. The bus later with police escort proceeded to its destination.
In Golaghat district, an ASTC night-super passenger bus coming from Guwahati to Merapani and one four-wheeler (mini-truck) were damaged due to pelting of stones by bandh supporters, sources said. Several trains were stopped by activists at Golaghat and Sivasagar districts, sources stated.
Over 300 activists were taken into custody from the streets by police during the bandh period in the five districts, sources said, adding that they were released in the evening.
Diphu: The Assam bandh also badly hit life in Karbi Anglong district. Vehicles were off the roads, shops and markets remained closed. Activists from different organisations came out on the streets in protest. No report of any untoward incident was reported.
Nagaon: The Assam bandh was a total success in Nagaon. All business establishments closed their shutters and commercial vehicles were off the roads. Banks, post offices etc., remained closed and attendance in other offices was thin. Most of the educational institutions barring a few private institutions remained closed.
Bandh supporters blocked roads by burning tyres in Daboka, Kampur and other places. Activists of Garia Moria Deshi Parishad also blocked roads in Panikhaiti area.
Tezpur: The bandh call given in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 was total and peaceful in Tezpur and its outskirts like Dhekiajuli, Rangapara, Balipra, Jamuguri, Misamari etc. However, though government offices, besides some educational institutions, remained open, banks, commercial establishments, were closed. Moreover, except for a few private vehicles, other vehicles remained off the roads.
Nalbari: Normal life was completely paralysed in Nalbari district due to the bandh call given by various organisations to protest the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 today. The police arrested five bandh supporters including Gautam Sarma, general secretary of Nalbari district unit of AJYCP, its assistant secretary Nirod Das, members Hemanga Kalita, Hemen Kalita and Biman Sarma, who had resorted to picketing. All vehicles, including private and commercial ones, remained off the roads including on the NH-31. The Government offices, financial and educational institutions opened due to the threat given by the district administration of dire consequences. Students remained absent and business establishments closed their shutters.
Bongaigaon: The 12-hour bandh called by 46 different groups today in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, evoked full response in Bongaigaon and mixed response in Chirang district.
Police detained around 80 picketers from different places of Bongaigaon district when they tried to put up a blockade on the roads by burning tyres. Traders in Bongaigaon district headquarters supported the bandh, though they had decided yesterday not to follow it, before the district administration at a meeting.
Government offices, some banks and educational institutions remained open. Passenger and goods carrying heavy vehicles remained off the roads and highways in Bongaigaon and Chirang districts.
Udalguri: The 12-hour statewide bandh evoked mixed response in Udalguri district on Tuesday. While the district headquarter witnessed a complete shutdown of business establishments, government offices and schools remained open.
Meanwhile, the Tangla town witnessed a partial response. The Tangla Police also detained four bandh supporters including activists of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS).
In places like Udalguri town, Orang, Bhairabkunda, Rowta, Bhergaon, Mazbat the bandh evoked full response.
Barpeta: The 12-hour Assam bandh called by several organisations protesting the proposed amendment of the Citizenship Bill passed of peacefully in Barpeta district. The bandh was total all over the district. All business establishments, educational institutions, banks and financial institutions remained closed in Barpeta, Pathsala, Sorbhog, Mandia and other major towns of the district. Though the business establishments at Barpetaroad remained closed early in the morning, they began to open after 11 am on the instructions of some BJP leaders and workers led by the chairperson of the municipality board. Roads all over the district wore a deserted look.
The most significant part of today�s bandh was that it evoked total response for the first time in the minority-dominated areas of the district.
Goalpara: The Assam bandh was totally successful in Goalpara district. Markets remain closed while the vehicular traffic stayed off the roads. Barring a few incidents, the situation in the district was largely peaceful. A total of 17 bandh supporters were arrested by the police. The bandh was also observed in Dhupdhara, Rangjuli, Darangiri, Dudhnoi and other towns in the district. Attendance in government offices was thin and the traders also downed their shutters.
Goreswar: Normal life in Baksa district was affected today during the Assam bandh. The bandh supporters staged protests by burning tyres on roads at various places of the district including at Goreswar, Maharipara, Naokata, Suagpur, Bangalipara, Tamulpur, Nagrijuli, Kumarikata etc. Almost all educational institutions like schools and colleges, banks and other commercials establishments remained closed. Commercial vehicles including buses, trucks were rarely seen on the roads. Markets and other business establishments remained totally closed.
Gauripur: The 12-hour Assam bandh called by 46 organisations demanding withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 evoked no response in the greater Gauripur and Golokganj areas. Light vehicles were seen plying on the streets. Educational institutions, government offices and commercial establishments remained open during the period. However, seven picketers at Chapar, six at Bilasipara, 59 at Gauripur and seven at Golokganj were arrested and later released. No untoward incident were reported till filing of this report.
Hailakandi: There was no affect of the 12-hour Assam bandh today in Hailakandi district, barring rail and road blockade in two places of the district. Though there was no clear affect of bandh, but the movement of vehicles and business was less in comparison to other days.
A group of KMSS members blocked the Mizoram-Assam passenger train at Mahammedpur in Hailakandi district but police later vacated the track. Similarly, the Assam-Mizoram inter-state NH 154 was also blocked by the KMSS members and it was also cleared by the police. Police said that they have arrested 13 picketers of KMSS while KMSS said that 33 members were arrested.
Silchar: The 12-hour Assam bandh on Tuesday called by 46 organisations protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 had no impact across Barak Valley.
In Cachar district, regular work went on normally throughout the day with government offices, banks and other establishments remaining open. Public vehicles were seen plying on the roads while trains ran as per schedule. Flight services were also not affected.
However, there was thick security cover at all important points in Silchar and across the district to avert any untoward incident. Police and paramilitary forces were deployed by the district administration to keep a close vigil on the situation.