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Cachar body concerned over ‘harassment’ on Hindu Bengalis, Silchar

Special Correspondent

Silchar, Aug 1: Even when updating of NRC goes on in Assam and reaches the stage of filing of claims and objections, various incidents of harassment to Hindu Bengalis are pouring in from Meghalaya and Manipur. Some student organizations in both the states at the entry points to those states have become unusually active and taken law and order in their hands. The situation that has been dovetailing for the last 2 days has come to such a pass that Hindu Bengalis moving through these states are in panic as there is no administrative machinery to intervene.

Briefing the media-persons here on Wednesday, All Assam Bengali Hindu Association (AABHA), Cachar unit, Basudev Sharma, president, and Promod Srivastava, vice president, as well as Santanu Sutradhar, general secretary, have said according to reports emanating from the states concerned and the versions of affected people, the harassment is meted out to the Hindu Bengalis of Barak Valley who have to move through Meghalaya and Manipur for various domestic and business purposes. Social media has come out with the live footages of how student organizations after detaining the vehicles force the occupants to come down and insist on them to get their NRC documents checked and cross-checked.

Despite their best of explanations that in Assam NRC final draft is yet to be published and the question of issuance of citizenship certificates is still a long way to go. But, the student activists have their own way of dealing with the innocent people. Even old, women and children are subjected to extreme harassment and in many cases resorting to physical assaults. The situation at Ratabari, the entry point to Meghalaya, and Jiribam, the access route to Manipur, tell the identical story. It is also alleged that by maintaining a distance, the local administration, civil and police, is playing a second fiddle to it.

If the situation is not dealt with tough hands, it might snowball in other northeastern states, making a farce of the oft repeated slogan of ‘Unity in diversity’. It is also apprehended encouraged by the free hand of the student activists in Meghalaya and Manipur, Hindu Bengalis who will be left out of the final draft of NRC might be subjected to harassment, physical and mental. AABHA has reached out to Samujjal Bhattacharjee, chief advisor of AASU and also a senior advisor of NESO to prevail over Khasi Students Union not to harass the Hindu Bengalis on their transit to Brahmaputra Valley through Meghalaya.

It has therefore been impressed upon Rajnath Singh, Union Home Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, Chief Minister of Assam, and Ram Madhav, general secretary of All India BJP, that after getting abreast of detailed information about the developments in Meghalaya and Manipur, they should initiate steps to preempt the illegal activities, besides putting a halt to the harassment of Hindu Bengalis. AABHA which has been campaigning for signatures for the immediate passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 has till date collected 1 lakh support for it. This signature campaign is going on across the state of Assam and will continue till August 15. From August 7, a 24X7 help line desk with mobile No. 6000702042 will be open for helping those who need it during their filing of claims and objections as well as any legal aid that will be provided free.

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