Menace of bandh need to be curbed: Symposium

Various mass-based organisations of Arunachal Pradesh unanimously voiced to curb the menace at the earliest to ensure steady progress of this land- locked state.

Itanagar: Expressing concern over bandh that has been emerging as a culture of protest in Arunachal Pradesh, various mass-based organisations of the state on Tuesday unanimously voiced to curb the menace at the earliest to ensure steady progress of this land- locked state.

Majority of the participants in the day-long symposium here on the topic `Bandh: Emerging culture of protest`, while rejecting the bandh culture being practiced by various organizations to lodge their protests advocated for other means of protests instead of bandh which largely affect the socio-economic and education scenario of the state.

The symposium was jointly organized by Arunachal Citizen`s Right (ACR) and Arunachal Press Club (APC), ACR Chairman Taring Mama in his keynote address disclosed that in the past three years (2009-2012) the state witnessed 43 bandh calls with a loss of 3, 216 hours.

"Arunachal Pradesh, being a late starter in education, economy and politics, can ill-afford to have many bandhs that might cripple economy, disturb academic atmosphere in educational institutions and divide people on communal lines," he said.

Rajiv Gandhi University (RGU) Vice Chancellor Professor Tomo Mibang advocated for peaceful means to lodge grievances before the government instead of resorting to bandh calls which generally marred with violent activities like burning of vehicles and vandalisation of public properties in the state.
"If the bandh culture could be curbed, Arunachal Pradesh will be a gold mine for rest of the country with its innumerable potentials," he added. Chief Councillor of Itanagar municipality Higio Aruni in her deliberation appealed all and sundry to shun bandh culture in the state and urged all stakeholders to mobilize efforts to check the menace.

Informing that the state had incurred an estimated loss of over Rs 600 crore in the last three years due to several bandhs, RGU associate professor of political science Nani Bath suggested not to encourage for constitution of students unions in all schools of the state so that it would not hamper the education atmosphere.

He further urged the state government to act as per the aspiration of the people and to fulfill their genuine grievances in order to evade bandh call.

All Arunachal Pradesh Students` Union (AAPSU) general secretary Biru Nasi while reasoned bandh as the last resort to lodge protest if the state government fail to fulfill the demands of the people.

Social and environment activists Souparna Lahiri termed bandh as a civil disobedience act stating that it would be successful only after public support.
Guwahati based senior journalist Samudra Gupta Kashyap spoke on the role of journalists while Amiya Sharma, executive director of Rashtriya Grameen Vikash Nidhi presented an analysis on `Research on bandh in North East India.`