Defacing govt hoardings: Police takes action, FIR lodged

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‘Veer Lachit Sena’ too lodges complaint against two Barak organisations

HT Bureau
Silchar/NAGAON, Oct 19: An FIR has been lodged against local organisations here for allegedly smearing a state government hoarding written in Assamese with black ink in the Barak valley an area predominated by Bengali speakers, a senior police officer said on Tuesday.
Government signposts and hoardings in the valley where more than 3.6 million people live have since the 1960s been tri-lingual, including in Bengali.
However, new hoardings put up by the Jal Jeevan Mission were in Assamese only.
Cachar superintendent of police Ramandeep Kaur said a complaint had been lodged by officials of Jal Jeevan Mission against the defacing of its hoardings in Silchar town.
“On the basis of the complaint, we have registered an FIR at Silchar Sadar police station on Monday,” she said.
“Appropriate action will be taken against the culprits after investigation,” the SP added.
Visuals showed alleged activists climbing a ladder and defacing the hoarding which was in Assamese language in front of Silchar Railway station. They also wrote ‘Bangla Likhun’ (written in Bengali) and the names of two organisations below it.
Barak Democratic Yuva Front leader Pradip Dutta Roy, reacting to the FIR, however questioned the decision to use only Assamese language in Government advertisements in Barak Valley, despite a decision to use Bengali also as an authorised official language in this part of the state after a language agitation in the 1960s.
Besides the BDYF, activists of All Bengali Students Youth Organisation (ABSYO) were also allegedly involved in the defacing incident.
Silchar MP Rajdeep Roy reacting to the incident alleged it could be part of a conspiracy to incite violence in the name of language in the state and warned “people from falling prey to such designs.”
Trinamool Congress leader Sushmita Dev said though she does not support blackening of hoardings, alleged the hoardings ‘disrespected’ the Language Act.
The Assam Official Language Act, 1960, adopted Assamese as the official language of the state, but included provisions for use of Bengali for all administrative and official purposes in the Bengali-majority Barak Valley of the state, comprising Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts.
The use of Bengali language for official purposes was authorised following a mass movement by the Bengali-speaking population in Barak valley, which saw the death of 11 protestors in police firing at Silchar Railway Station on May 16, 1961.
Meanwhile, the district body of ‘Veer Lachit Sena’ of Nagaon on Tuesday filed an FIR against two Barak valley based Bengali organisations and sought strict lawful action against those two organisations.
While interacting with the local media persons here after filing the FIR, the district body of ‘Veer Lachit Sena’ on Tuesday said that the acts of those two Bengali organisations apparently hit the pride and glory of the greater Assamese nation and the youth organisation would not tolerate such acts of those Bengali organisations.
The district body of ‘Veer Lachit Sena’ urged the government to take strict action against those two organisations, the district leadership of the organisation added.
Meanwhile the district body of Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad also condemned the incident.

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