Begin typing your search above and press return to search.

Saying no to bandhs and blockades

Certain groups, particularly in Assam, are still living in a world where they think that they can get things done by calling bandhs and enforcing blockades.

bandhs

Sentinel Digital Desk

Certain groups, particularly in Assam, are still living in a world where they think that they can get things done by calling bandhs and enforcing blockades. Two such examples have remained in the news in recent times. The first is a blockade imposed by some groups against Oil India Ltd in the Tinsukia district. The second is an economic blockade enforced by some people of Cachar against Mizoram. While bandhs and blockades have made life miserable in Assam and the region in the past several decades, they have also seriously affected the region's economy and caused irreparable loss to lakhs of students. The Gauhati High Court had in March 2019 declared bandhs and blockades unconstitutional and had ordered the creation of a fund to recover losses during such agitations from the organizers. The High Court had also directed authorities to lodge FIRs against organizations that call and enforce bandhs and blockades. It had also asked investigating officers in all such cases to carry out the probe expeditiously and file charge sheets before the competent criminal court promptly so that the offenders can be tried in a fast-track mode. Moreover, the High Court had said that organizers of such blockades are liable to be prosecuted under various provisions of the IPC and other laws. A news item published in the Sunday edition of this newspaper has said that the Tinsukia district administration had issued show-cause notices to six groups which had called a blockade against Oil India Ltd for recovery of Rs 3.27 crore from them, this being the loss the PSU had incurred because of the illegal blockade. Each group was asked to pay Rs 54.60 lakh as compensation. This is a very appreciable action and should be replicated in every district in the larger public interest. The Cachar district administration probably can be the first to pick up the clue, especially after a section of people forcibly imposed a highway blockade despite the best efforts of the state government to resolve a crisis on the Assam-Mizoram boundary a few days ago. Bandhs and blockades must be tackled with a heavy hand.


Next Story