Guwahati: The UPA government’s decision to create Telangana has brought long-standing demands by four ethnic groups for separate states carved out of Assam to the fore, with large-scale violence and agitation erupting in the state.
Bodos, Karbi, Dimasas and Koch- Rajbongshis have demanded separate states. The hill district of Karbi Anglong witnessed violence with two persons killed and several injured.
The All Bodo Students’ Union was observing a 12-hour rail blockade on Friday with several organisations, including the Bodo Sahitya Sabha, All Bodo Women’s Federation, Bodoland Peoples Progressive Front, NDFB(P), People Joint Action Committee for Bodoland Movement.
The ABSU has also called a 60-hour strike from August 5 to demand a separate state for Bodos.
The United Democratic People’s Front, comprising several Bodo organisations, has called a 1500-hour strike, the longest ever in the region, from August five on the same demand.
The National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Progressive and the People’s Joint Action Committee for Bodoland Movement have jointly called a 100-hour highway blockade from August 13 and will observe a 24-hour hunger-strike on August 20 at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.
The Bodo Peoples’ Front, an ally of the ruling Congress in the state government, has also stepped up demand for a separate state for the community and had met Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde last Wednesday at New Delhi.
The All Koch Rajbongshi Students’ Union has begun a 36-hour Assam strike from yesterday demanding a separate Kamtapur state which would be followed by a 100-hour hunger-strike and a bandh on Independence Day.
The Hills State Democratic Party has called a 100-hour strike in the hill districts of Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong from August 5 demanding separate states of Dima Hasoa and Karbi Anglong.
With the army on flag march in Assam, the rubber estate and a house of Congress MP were set ablaze, while four persons were injured in police firing, as the demand for separate states on the lines of Telangana by several groups was stepped up on Friday.
The army staged a flag march in violence-hit Karbi Anglong district in the afternoon after being called in by the civil administration, official sources said.
Train services across the state were affected by a 12-hour rail blockade called by different Bodo organisations to demand a separate Bodoland.
Protesters removed six kilometre of railway tracks in the Diphu—Lumding section, but it was restored later though train services were yet to resume.
The MP Biren Singh Engti’s rubber garden and house, about seven kilometre from Diphu, was set on fire by miscreants who also felled trees, the sources said.
There was no casualty as there was nobody in the house of the Congress MP, who represents the Autonomous Hill district constituency, at that time.
The police opened fire in the district to disperse a mob in which four persons were injured with the condition of two stated to be critical, the sources said.
At Donkamakom under Hamrem sub-division a mob ransacked a police outpost and attacked policemen demanding the release of seven arrested youths, they said.
A post office and an office of the hand-loom and textile department at Dolamara and a PHED office in Howraghat were attacked, the sources said.
Also set ablaze was a bus of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council and a PWD inspection bungalow at Umlalfera area.
Assam IGP (Law and Order) S N Singh who held a meeting at Diphu to take stock of the prevailing situation, told reporters that five additional companies of security forces were expected to arrive soon while two companies were deployed.
Mr. Singh said preventive arrests were being made to bring the situation under control and to prevent further violence.
The President of Karbi Students’ Association Laiseng Engleng was arrested for inciting violence.
Seven others were arrested from Dokmoka area taking the total number of arrests to 18 since the outbreak of violence in the hill district.
Parliamentary Secretary (Home) Etuwa Munda rushed to the district with an appeal to the people to maintain peace and not to damage government property.
The All Bodo Student’s Union along with NDFB (Progressive), All Bodo Womens’ Federation, Bodo Sahitya Sabha, Bodo Peoples’ Progressive Front and others sat on railway tracks with placards at the Kokrajhar railway station since early morning with no train either entering or leaving.
Tight security was imposed on railway stations in Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Baksa, Nalbari and Kamrup districts.
The All Koch Rajbongshi Students’ Union, which has called a 36-hour bandh since yesterday demanding a separate Kamtapur state, also resorted to violence setting ablaze a vehicle in Gossaigaon.