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Barak Valley boils under Rumi-Jacky issue

SILCHAR, July 4: The dawn to dusk Barak Valley bandh called by Hindu Jagaran Manch today and supported by various organizations was total, according to information reaching here from the three districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi. The bandh was however marred by violent clashes between the supporters and opponents in Kalain area of Cachar district and Nilambazar in the district of Karimganj. Significantly, the highly sensitive Hailakandi district was free from any untowardincident.
The eye-witness account said that in the main marketplace of Kalain, 35 km from here, tension began to build up when the opponents of the bandh objected to the attempts by supporters to force the shopkeepers and businessmen to down their shutters. This led to group clash in which 18 persons were injured, 5 of them critically. In view of the deteriorating situation, the district administration has to enforce curfew indefinitely from 2.30 pm. All the critically injured have been rushed to Silchar Medical College Hospital. Kalain is under the Katigorah constituency of AIUDF MLA Ataur Rahman Majharbhuiya.
A report from Nilambazar, 30 km from the border townof Karimganj said that whenShipra Goon, all India general secretary of Mahila Morcha, along with her supporters was squatting on NH-44, although the highway was deserted, a mob of hundreds of bandh opponents came from different directions and encircled them. Without any provocation, Shipra Goon said the mob suddenly swooped on them and in thescuffle, 5 of her supporters were injured, 2 of them critically, necessitating their hospitalization in KarimganjCivil Hospital.
Shipra Goon expressed her displeasure at the role of officer-in-charge of Nilambazar police station, Tanveer Ahmed, and circle officer, F A Laskar, who maintained a safe distance and allowed the mob to attack them. She alleged it seemed attack on them was well designed in order to browbeat and terrify them. The CRPF contingent, she further alleged, was kept at bay. All of them were left at the mercy of the mob, she pointed out. The area falls under the South Karimganj constituency of Siddeque Ahmed, border area development minister.
Responsible citizens from Hailakandi said Gautam Roy,Minister of PHE, who was at the centre stage of controversy for his advice to people to take law in their own hands to deal with the cases of elopements of Hindu girls with Muslim boys to teach them a lesson of life, was seen in the role of a trouble-shooter. He was himself monitoring the situation during bandh in perfect coordination with the district administration and police as well as the elderly persons of both the communities to ensure no breach of peace.
Notwithstanding the violentincidents, the bandh supported by Hindu Milan Manch, VHP, BJP and its various fronts was total and spontaneous. The Highways 44, 53, 54, 151 and 154 were deserted. Roads were no different. The inter valley and beyond movement of allpassenger and goods trains were either cancelled or regulated, said a source at the Silchar railway station. Short and long distance buses within the valley and to Guwahati, Shillong, Aizawl, Imphal and Agartala were cancelled. All the flights at the Kumbhirgram airport landed and took off. Passengers booked for different flights and to different destinations made it to the airport well ahead of the bandh started. Incoming passengers were however stranded at the airport in the absence of conveyance.
Offices of the Central and State Governments recorded nil attendance and were closed. Shops, business establishments, banking institutions as well as commercial concerns downed their shutters. Being summer vacation, schools and colleges were closed. TDC semester examination as well as the entrance examination of business administration of Assam University were postponed. Dates, the University source said, for the examinations would be announced later. Courts also did not function.
The information from acrossthe valley said around 250 picketers and squatters were taken into custody from different parts of the three districts. Those without offence for breach of peace were let off later on. Among the prominent leaders of different fronts who courted arrest included Kirit Bhushan Purkayastha, district Cachar president of BJP, Gopal Roy, BJYM president, Nihar Das, SC Morcha president, Paritosh Chanda, VHP working president, Manibhusan Choudhury, general secretary, Gairik Bharat, Sushmita Purkayastha, Mahila Morcha leader, Promila Goswami, BJP leader, Shipra Goon, all Indiageneral secretary of Mahila Morcha.
It is to be recalled that the bandh was called by Hindu Jagaran Mancha to protest against the harassments of innocent people bound for different destinations travelling by buses, long andshort distance, by anti socialelements who came out on the streets of Barak Valley in support of Rumi Nath. Theseelements flexed their muscleby blocking the roads and highways. The commuters inparticular were subjected to untold mental and physical agony. The bandh was also in protest against the role ofthe administration for its partisan role, targeting the Hindus for the disturbances in which they have no hands. It is against the rise of such forces, harassment of common people for no fault of their own and the discriminatory role of the State and the administration that the bandh call was given to which different fronts extended their unqualified support. (SentinelAssam)

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