[ Prafulla Kaman ]
RUKSIN, Feb 13: Frequent bandhs called by various organizations in Assam is adversely affecting the lives of the people in Arunachal Pradesh.
Assam has witnessed successive bandhs in the last two decades almost every day, state-wide or some parts.
The agitations were intensified in the last two months on the issue and demand for granting Scheduled Tribe (ST) status to six Assamese communities and Citizenship (amendment) Bill.
However, the situation has improved considerably after the Upper House of the Parliament was adjourned sine die on Wednesday without taking up the controversial bills.
The frequent bandhs called in Assam is badly affecting the daily lives of Arunachalee people as road communication and transportation of essential commodities between Itanagar and various other places are made through the highways in Assam.
Eminent citizens of Arunachal Pradesh have expressed resentment over the frequent Assam bandhs. They said that the people of Arunachal, who are unconcerned with the demands, have been suffering for years.
“Frequent bandhs called by various organizations in Assam is a never ending distress for the people of Arunachal. The bandh call cannot justify any genuine cause, and the untold sufferings of the common people go through during bandhs negate all the genuineness. The protesters should adopt other means of democratic protest instead of bandhs that are called at the slightest pretext,” said Deputy Director of IPR Denhang Bosai.
Like Bosai, many Arunachalee people also echoed the same sentiment.
“A large number people from Arunachal Pradesh, including students, businessmen and medical patients, who regularly travel to Itanagar and eastern Arunachal districts through Assam, have been suffering a lot for it,” said the sufferers.
As per record, Assam and other NE states lose crores of rupees during bandhs, thereby making the region more backward economically.
“Assam incurred loss of Rs 6,790 lakh per day due to a state-wide bandh,” said a report from the Economics and Statistics Department, Government of Assam.
The state has witnessed 13 such bandhs in 2018, the report said.
Notably, the Gauhati High Court has already declared all bandhs in Assam and Meghalaya illegal, stating that such bandhs violate the fundamental rights of the citizens.
The high court had also directed the Assam Government to take steps to prevent infringement of fundamental rights of the citizens on account of bandhs.
Following the high court directive, the Assam Government had framed a draft bill to ban bandhs in the state. The draft bill named ‘The Assam Prohibition and Prevention of Bandh Bill, 2017 is still under the consideration of the state government.
[ Prafulla Kaman ]