Stop bandhs, blockades or face strict action: Tarun Gogoi

Ahead of meeting with PM Manmohan Singh on separate statehood demands by groups in Assam, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday warned of strong action against shut downs and blockades.

Guwahati: Ahead of his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on separate statehood demands by a number of groups in Assam, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday warned of strong action against shut downs and blockades.
Gogoi left for New Delhi during the day and is expected to meet Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, besides Singh to discuss the separate statehood issue.

The state has been witnessing violent protests and bandhs affecting normal life in at least six districts since the Centre`s announcement on Telangana.

"I have appealed to everyone many times to stop bandhs, but it is still continuing. If bandhs and blockades continue like this, then we will have to take strict steps.

"We are talking to them (agitators) and we are for a peaceful solution. For any progress in the positive direction, violence has to be stopped," Gogoi told reporters after launching a new website for Assam Public Service Commission here.

About his proposed meeting with Singh, who is also the Rajya Sabha MP from Assam, Gogoi said "I am going to Delhi today and will meet the Prime Minister. I will definitely let him know about the demands. I will also try to meet Sonia Gandhi to discuss the issues related to demands of separate states."

Asked to comment on the demands by various groups to organise tripartite meetings between the agitators, state and Central governments, the chief minister said: "I am hopeful of arranging a tripartite meeting."

The agitators have threatened to hold more bandhs and economic blockades of up to 1,500 hours if their demands of organising tripartite meetings for creation of separate states are not met before Independence Day.

Gogoi held a meeting with Joint Action Committee for
Autonomous State(JACAS) of Karbi Anglong on its statehood demand hours before leaving for the national capital.

After the meeting, JACAS leaders said the discussions were "neither satisfactory nor negative".

It demanded that the government release all leaders, arrested since violence erupted in the district after the declaration on Telangana last month, the JACAS leaders added.

In Bodoland Territorial Areas District, All Bodo Students Union organised a bicycle rally pressing for their demand to create a separate state.

The Telangana announcement had brought to the fore the demands of four ethnic groups for separate states carved out of Assam.

Agitations have been launched by Bodos, Karbis, Dimasas and Koch-Rajbongshis and the situation had turned violent in Karbi Anglong.

Gogoi had last week rejected statehood demands and said all ethnic groups should stay united.

"I am not going to divide Assam. We all need to live together. Stop bandh culture and go for work culture," he had said.


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