Govt talks tough, stage set for battle; Akhil dares Sonowal government to thwart today’s shutdown call

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Oct 22: Assam government has adopted a “yudhang dehi” attitude towards the 12-hour Assam bandh call given by 46 influential pressure groups of the state demanding scrapping of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, even as Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) adviser Akhil Gogoi challenged BJP-led government to prevent the call if the government can.

Security measures have been intensified in all the districts of the state in view of the bandh call and additional companies of security forces have been deployed to prevent any untoward incident.

As many as 46 indigenous organisations, including Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) have called for 12-hour state wide shutdown on Tuesday to protest against the Bill.

As preventive measures, the state government on Monday instructed all district magistrate and superintendent of polices across the state to ensure normal life on Tuesday. In a directive to all DCs and SPs, the government has reminded that all necessary pre-emptive and preventive measures to thwart the bandh must be taken in view of the judgement of Gauhati High Court in PIL No.54/2012.

It directed all government offices upto the gaon panchayat level for normal functioning and to maintain public convenience.

The order also said that disciplinary action will be initiated against the officials and employees for absence in the offices during the bandh period.

The order further said that the trade licenses of businessmen will be cancelled if they fail to open their shops and business establishments during the bandh period.

Meanwhile, the deputy commissioner of Kamrup (Metro) Virendra Mittal has asked all local heads of government/ semi government offices to ensure 100% attendance of employees during the bandh hours.

The DC also asked all the essential service providers to continue their services on the day and to renounce the bandh call of different organisations.

Guwahati commissioner of police Pradip Ch Saloi assured that adequate security measures have been be taken to ensure law and order situation in the district during the bandh. Saloi and Mittal asked the members of different business organisations to keep their establishments open during the bandh.

The police commissioner and deputy commissioner in a meeting held at Circuit House here on Monday appealed to different transport organisations, chambers of commerce etc. to renounce the bandh call on Tuesday and continue normal activities in the district. The deputy commissioner also asked the transport organisations to continue their transport services during the bandh. The deputy commissioner also directed the respective officers of various offices of Kamrup Metro District to keep their offices open and ensure 100% attendance of all official staffs during the bandh.

The meeting was attended by additional deputy commissioners Pulok Mahanta, Nabadeep Pathak, PP Bora, Pradip Das, Guwahati Transport Association secretary Bipul Kalita, Guwahati Metro Transport Association secretary Nirmal Jain, Kamrup Chamber of Commerce general secretary Dwizen Sarmah, representatives of North East India Petroleum Dealer Association and other organisations.

While the ruling BJP opposed the bandh, its ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has convened a mass rally in Guwahati demanding repeal of the Bill.

AGP general secretary Manoj Saikia on Monday said the party has been opposing the bill since 2016 as it is against the clause 6 of the Assam Accord.

“The Centre is trying to pass the bill in Parliament. Our leaders met Prime Minister, Union home minister and also President and submitted our opinions. We have also organised a protest rally against the bill tomorrow,” Saikia said.

Assam BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said that the joint parliamentary committee (JPC) on the Citizenship Amendment Bill is yet to take a final decision on the bill.

“The government is yet to introduce the bill in the Parliament. The organisations which called the bandh have no support base. We appeal to the people of Assam, all government employees, businessmen not to support the bandh,” Dass said.

The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) has also extended its support to the bandh call given by 46 indigenous organisations of the state and demanded repeal of the Bill.

Meanwhile, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) advisor Akhil Gogoi challenged the BJP-led government to prevent the call for bandh if the government can.

“Nobody cares BJP’s threatening. We believe people of the state would cooperate with us to observe a peaceful and democratic bandh in protest against this capitalist government,” Gogoi said.

Accusing Pradesh BJP president’s threatening to all the organisations which supported the bandh, Gogoi said BJP’s ‘atrocities’ in the state has reminded him the Assam Movement era.

“The present government has been ruling like Hitler,” he said. “In 13 years in the history of KMSS, we have never called for bandh. This time, we had no other option but to do so,” he said.

Gogoi also reiterated that no force will be allowed to let Assam be a second Kashmir or Tripura.

Gogoi also demanded that Ranjeet Dass to tender apology for his statement against the indigenous organisations.

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