Assam bans bandh for a month

The Assam government on Wednesday issued prohibitory orders banning bandh for a period of 30 days.

“Prohibitory orders (banning bandh) have been issued under Section 144 CrPC to maintain law and order,” LR Bishnoi, inspector general (law and order), told DNA.

Ninety per cent of violence in the state was due to frequent bandh calls which have also crippled the economy, government spokesman and senior minister Nilomoni Sen Deka told reporters here after the decision was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by chief minister Tarun Gogoi. “I appeal to civil societies and NGOs not to call bandhs which disrupt public life,” he said.

The orders come a day after a 12-hour bandh, called by some organisations, turned violent leaving one person dead and several others injured.

Asked if there was any possibility of the arrest of leaders of the organisations which called Tuesday’s bandh, Bishnoi said, “After perusal of FIRs, if the name of anyone comes up, action will be taken against him.” The state government announced an ex gratia payment of Rs25,000, each, to journalists who were injured in attacks by the bandh supporters on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the army, assisting the civil administration in violence-hit districts, would be used for seizing illegal arms.

“The army is out and is helping us. It has been given full powers to seize illegal arms and ammunition and I believe we will get results very soon,” said Gogoi. The army has been put in action in Chirang and Bongaigaon districts and would soon conduct similar operations in the other districts, he said.

Meanwhile, curfew was still on at Ambagan area of Nagaon district. It was relaxed for a few hours in Barpeta and Sonitpur districts. Large scale violence was reported from these three districts on Tuesday. The state’s home secretary GD Tripathi said the “situation was under control” on Wednesday.