GUWAHATI: The 24-hour Assam bandh call in protest against the killings of five Bengali-speaking people in Tinsukia district, on Saturday evoked mixed responses with little bandh impact in the Brahmaputra Valley and crippling effect in Barak Valley.
The bandh was called by the All Assam Bengali Yuba-Chatra Parishad and several other Bengali organizations had supported it.
The bandh had very little impact in majority of areas of the Brahmaputra Valley despite the bandh supporters’ attempts to make the strike successful. Normal life continued as usual in Guwahati.
But the reverse scene was seen in the entire Barak Valley with the bandh brought normal life including the districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi to a grinding halt. Even Congress MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) MP Radheshyam Biswas were seen forcing some people to observe the bandh in Barak Valley. Both Purkayastha and Biswas were subsequently picked up by the police.
Protesters blocked the movement of trains on railways track in Hojai district in the Brahmaputra valley.
Police said that there were reports of violence from Koliabor, where protesters attacked a mini truck to enforce the bandh. Stones were pelted on a vehicle carrying a wedding party at Simaluguri in Barpeta district.
Hundreds of bandh supporters were arrested by police all over the State and there were sporadic incidents of clashes in some parts of Assam.
There was no impact of the bandh in the Upper Assam districts with life continued in a regular way during the bandh hours.
In Guwahati, normal life remained unaffected and city buses and other vehicles could be seen plying freely. Cab services like Ola and Uber too plied normally on the city roads. Majority of business establishments remained open and government offices, schools and other educational institutions functioned as usual. Only a few shops in few Bengali dominated areas remained closed.
After an initial communication goof-up the Assam Government on Friday had issued strict instructions to all the heads of district administrations, education institutions and business houses to ensure normal functioning of the institutions during the bandh.
Meanwhile, the deputy commissioners on Saturday held peace meetings and appealed the people to remain united to defeat anti-social elements which are trying to destabilize the State.
On other hand pro-talk ULFA leader Jiten Dutta was sent to jail on Saturday for allegedly making provoking statements against a particular community.