The outcome of 12-hour bandh called by the ULFA pro-talks faction in Assam has shut down some areas of Morigaon and Moran on Monday.
The outcome of 12-hour bandh called by the ULFA pro-talks faction in Assam has shut down some areas of Morigaon and Moran on Monday. The “anti-outsider” agitation has led to torchlight processions and highway blockades across the Brahmaputra Valley. Apart from the pro-talks faction, which organised most of the protests, localised units of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), the Asom Jatiyabadi Yuva-Chatra Parishad, the All Tai Ahom Students’ Union and the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti also joined the forces. At some places, the protesters were also reportedly invoking the name of anti-talks ULFA leader Paresh Barua. These protests are reminiscent of the early phase of the AASU movement of 1979-85 when the issue was about both non-Assamese “outsiders” and Bangladeshi infiltrators, according to The Indian Express.
The series of protests, which Assam saw over the last two weeks, was the result of an assault on a group of former ULFA members in Nagaon on August 22. This happened inside a business establishment owned by brothers who belong to a Bengali-speaking family. The group had reportedly gone to raise funds for flood relief, when they were allegedly confined inside a room and beaten up.
Assam Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal said,“I am deeply saddened by the recent untoward incident that took place in Nagaon and I appeal to the people of the state to maintain peace and harmony in the face of provocation.”
“There will be bloodshed in Assam if such attacks on indigenous people do not stop,” ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa said in Nagaon. “We have been trying to keep our boys under control even after such an incident. Our guns are lying locked in our boxes. Do not compel us to take them out,” he added.
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Assam DGP Mukesh Sahay told Indian Express: “Some of them have been making dangerous statements of taking the law into their hands, reorganising their boys, and even threatening to take out their guns. Initially, we thought this was in the heat of the moment, but a few of them have been repeating such utterances and even encouraging their boys to raise slogans in the name of Paresh Barua”.