Jorhat/ Guwahati, Nov 19: A Golaghat civil court has summoned the State's Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary, DGP and the DC and SP of Golaghat after the Assam government failed to reply to a legal notice filed by a citizen seeking an apology for holding up traffic on NH 37 for 40 minutes to allow the Chief Minister's convoy to pass.
Former minister and tea planter Abhijit Sarma had filed a legal notice after the police machinery held up commuters on NH 37 for over 40 minutes on July 29 last to facilitate the convoy of the Chief Minister in the Hatikhuli area of Golaghat. Sarma was one of the commuters who had to undergo the unnecessary harassment.
Piqued at the action of the administration, Sarma had filed a legal notice, seeking an apology from the government and an assurance that such incidents would not be repeated. The respondents - Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, DGP, DC & SP of Golaghat - however did not reply to the notice.
On Tuesday, Sarma filed a title suit at the Golaghat Civil Court, anticipating a mandatory injunction as relief from the local court.
"As per the Supreme Court of India's guideline and observations, there is a directive that halting of traffic on account of any VIP convoy movement cannot be for more than 3 minutes. Though I understand the security protocol of VIPs and VVIPs, I fail to understand the logic as to why a common man should be subjected to such torture?" Sarma told The Sentinel.
"My legal attorney had issued a notice seeking a formal reply from the government but even after two months, there hasn't been any kind of communication from the State machinery. Hence the law of the country will decide as to what relief would be best suited against VIP and VVIP raj. But I persolly expect a mandatory injunction besides a time determition fixed for VIP convoy movement," Sarma said.
Harassment to commuters on account of the movement of the CM's convoy is not new, especially to the city of Guwahati. Traffic is held up for more than the stipulated time, compounding the traffic congestion in the city. On one hand the Chief Minister claims that the law and order situation in the State has improved considerably, on the other he continues to flaunt a 20-vehicle convoy for his secure movement within the State.
Worse, there are allegations of policemen misbehaving with the common man to "secure" the CM's convoy route line. To save their skins, the police officials keep the commuters stranded for several minutes even during hostile weather conditions.
Even on Thursday, frequent movement of the Chief Minister from his residence to Khapara to Rajiv Bhavan obstructed traffic in the city, creating severe srls and causing trouble to commuters.