Silchar, May 18: The leaders of Citizens’ Rights Preservation Committee, Assam, have requested both the central and the state government to complete the formalities for declaring Silchar Railway Station as ‘Bhasha Shaheed’ station. They also urged upon the people to light 11 wicks on May 19 in every house as a mark of respect and honour to the 11 martyrs who laid down their lives for the sake of protecting their mother tongue, Bengali.
Citizens’ Rights Preservation Committee (CRPC), Assam paid their heartfelt homage and tribute to the 11 martyrs who laid down their lives during a protest demanding the repel of the Assam Official Language Act, 1960 that quite ironically made Assamese a compulsory language in the state of Assam including in Barak Valley which is a Bengali domited Valley. On May 19, 1961, protesters were only shouting slogans against the Act when a round of bullets killed 11 of them. On May 19, 1961, protesters assembled in the Silchar Railway Station to voice against ‘Rail Rokho Andolan’.
The barbaric act of firing by the police on the peaceful protesters claimed 11 urmed lives who were only shouting slogans to impress upon and recognize Bengali as one of the languages of Assam. Bidhayak Das Purkayastha, general secretary of Citizens’ Rights Preservation Committee, Assam, said that the government of Assam had appointed a one-man commission headed by Justice Gopal Mehrotra to enquire into the police firing. Even after 55 years of submission of the report, it is yet to be published.
Bidhayak Das Purkayastha asserted that the ruling clique of Assam could not master the courage to publish the report lest their misdeeds are exposed warranting to the payment of heavy compensation to the next of kin of all the martyrs. In this regard, the members of Citizens’ Rights Preservation Committee, Assam, have requested that any party that comes to power after the declaration of the results on May 19 should submit the long-pending commission report. The leaders stated that India is a democratic country and the citizens of a democratic country have the right to know the findings of an enquiry commission.
Nripendra Chandra Saha, president, Sadhan Purkayastha, secretary general, CRPC, Assam, voiced one thought, that since 1947, Hindu settlers of the Brahmaputra Valley have raised their voice on state language and continued doing so both inside and outside the periphery of Barak Valley. The language movement was a continuation of that spark in which thousands of Bengali houses were plundered and set on fire, people were tortured and humiliated irrespective of gender and age. The residents of Barak Valley protested against this unlawful act and organized various democratic means of demonstrations. Being a being a multi-lingual state, Assam needs a sound language policy framed on the basis of principles of equality, respect to and for all the languages of the state. CRPC has informed it to The Sentinel through an e-mail on Tuesday.