* Demonstrations inside residential campus of MP Queen Ojha
* State Secretariat witnesses less than 1 per cent attendance
GUWAHATI: The usual scenes of ‘Gully Cricket’ and ‘Addabaji’ normally witnessed during the bandh calls were replaced by incidents of protests and processions when Assam on Tuesday observed an 11-hour North East bandh in protest against the Centre’s move to convert the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) into a law.
The protests and processions which continued throughout the day across the State reached such a pass that the bandh supporters pushed back the convoy of Education Minister Siddhartha Bhattacharyya when it tried to pass through the Six Mile flyover in Guwahati during the bandh period. The protestors also stormed into the residential campus of the BJP MP from Guwahati Queen Ojha and staged demonstrations against the Bill.
In Guwahati, residents from various localities, lanes and bye-lanes spontaneously came out from their homes and hit the streets. They blocked the GS Road, GNB Road and various other main roads by burning tyres, shouting slogans and displaying placards.
“Normally we play crickets on roads during the bandh calls. But today, it was different. The today’s bandh call was given to safeguard the identity, culture, language and ethos of indigenous people of Assam. The CAB is not only illegal and communal but also anti-Assamese. So we have come out to the streets to send strong messages to Delhi and Dispur not to insult the dignity, sentiment and emotion of Assamese people,” Nilimesh Hazarika, a resident of Dispur said.
Assamese cine artistes, singers and those associated with art, culture and music also hit the streets during the bandh period and demanded the government to immediately withdraw the CAB. The artistes assembled before the office of All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) at Uzan Bazar, and the AASU leaders welcomed them for joining the movement against the CAB.
Besides spontaneous protests, the NE bandh call completely crippled normal life across Assam. Shops, commercial establishments, banks, educational institutions, private and government offices remained closed during the bandh. Almost 99 per cent of employees of the State Secretary at Janata Bhawan were absent marking intensity of the bandh. Only pharmacies remained open.
The NF Railway cancelled running of all short-distance trains within Assam. The bandh supporters detained various long-distance trains for three-to-four hours at different railway stations.
Bus services to Upper Assam and various other parts of NE from ISBT at Betkuchi remained crippled during the daytime. The ISBT authority has also cancelled the night bus service to different destinations due to security reasons.
Sources at Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport at Borjhar claimed that the flight service was not disrupted during the bandh period. “Passengers have, however, faced difficulties in reaching the airport,” the source said.