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Letters to THE EDITOR

Greater Bangla Raaj?

Of late, there has been a lot of protest in Assam, led by AASU, against the imposition of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The protest is mainly seen in the Brahmaputra Valley where, led by AASU, people, including intellectuals, civil society activists and commoners, have taken to protest marches and meetings making it very clear that the State will no more tolerate any settlement of illegal Bangladeshis, Hindu or Muslim, here. The protest is very much justified.

But in the Barak Valley, such protests are nowhere to be seen. It is true that people in the Barak Valley are Bengali-speaking people, with many of them tracing their ancestry to the erstwhile East Bengal or East Pakistan, now turned Bangladesh. Whether they are Hindu or Muslim, they speak Bengali as mother tongue. In fact, if one goes to the Barak Valley, he gets an impression that he is no longer in Assam but in some part of West Bengal.

However, they are Indian citizens, at least a whole lot of them who are legally so and have been here even before the British left India. What is, therefore, surprising is that there should be such total silence in the Barak Valley when it comes to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. This silence clearly points to the feeling of acceptance among the Bengali-speaking people of the Barak Valley when it comes to the said Bill. In other words, the Bengali-speaking Hindu population of the Barak Valley is prepared to accept the illegal Bangladeshi Hindus in their midst. This also means that linguistic affinity and religion (Hindu) is more important than the cause of one’s own motherland and the question of identity and survival of the ethnic tribes of the State. The same applies to the Bengali-speaking Muslim population settled in Assam, legally or otherwise.
The question, therefore, is whether a Greater Bangla Raaj is in the making in Assam. This is a very serious issue.
Shivani Kalita,
Silpukhuri, Guwahati.

For 100% Sanitary Napkin Use

I convey thanks to Assam Finance Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma through your esteemed daily for allocation of Rs 30 crore to girl children in the 12 -20 years age group of the State, whose family income is below Rs 5 lakh per year, as an annual stipend of Rs 600 each to buy sanitary napkins, which will be directly transferred to their bank accounts in the current State budget. The scheme will be a tremendous help to the young girls of Assam if it is implemented in letter and spirit. It will improve menstrual hygiene, improve girl students’ health, enhance better academic and personal development of girl students, and safeguard their dignity. Moreover, it will reduce the absenteeism of girls in schools during their monthly periods and will check girl students from dropping out of schools. According to me, the scheme needs to improve its coverage to all girl students of the State irrespective of their family income so that Assam becomes a 100% sanitary napkin-using girl students’ State. Moreover, a major publicity campaign should be launched by the government and NGOs for girls to use sanitary napkins to enable them to understand its importance.
Dr Dharmakanta Kumbhakar,
Guwahati.

Rash Driving

It is observed that rash driving of vehicles is one of the main factors behind road accidents, even causing fatality. As such, I would like to request the government and the authority concerned to take steps to limit the speed of driving vehicles in cities and other towns differently that is suitable to a particular town and city so that accidents may be reduced. At the same time, implementing agency should be strict in the matter in letter and spirit.
Putul Sarma,
Biswanath Chariali.

About the author

Ankur Kalita