Protests over granting of tribal status to ethnic communities in Assam
Guwahati: Protests have erupted across Assam for and against granting of tribal status to various ethnic communities, election to autonomous councils as well as against the demand for Bodoland state carved out of Assam.
In Dibrugarh district today Ahom, Motok and Moran communities jointly blocked the road to the airport in Dibrugarh town from 11 am for several hours preventing over 250 passengers from reaching the aerodrome, official sources said.
More than 3000 slogan shouting and banner carrying protesters from different organisations of the three ethnic communities squatted on the road and prevented movement of vehicles, the sources said.
About 250 passengers were stranded while another 30 Dibrugarh-Guwahati-Delhi Jetlite and 20 Dibrugarh-Kolkata Indigo flight passengers, however, managed to enter the airport as they went there early, they added.
The demonstrators were demanding Scheduled Tribe status under the Sixth Schedule for the three communities.
In neighbouring Dhemaji district, non-Mising people called a 36-hour bandh from 5 am yesterday affecting normal life protesting the inclusion of the non ethnic community villages.
During census for the Mising Autonomous Council, non-Mising villages were included resulting in protests, the sources said adding Misings demanding election to their council as no polls had been held since its establishment in 1996.
Yesterday, the agitationists had turned violent prompting the police to resort to lathi charge and blank firing. None was injured.
In Goalpara district, the Non-Rabha Coordination Forum
blocked the Kamakhya-Jogighopa railway line for two hours from 6 am at Bhalukdubi stranding the New Bongaigaon-Nagaon Haibargaon up Chilarai Passenger at Pancharatna.
Over 5000 placard-holding protestors who squatted on the rail tracks shouted slogans demanding the non-Rabha villages be excluded from the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council.
A report from its adjacent Kokrajhar district said various Adivasi organisations under the Adivasi Seva Samity blocked National Highway 31 for six hours from 8 am at Karigaon disrupting traffic movement.
Yesterday a public rally against Bodoland state demand was held at Bijni in Chirang district by non Bodo communities under the Obodo Suraksha Samiti (OSS), an umbrella organisation of non-Bodo communities living in the Bodo Territorial Autonomous District (BTAD) area.
Addressing the rally, OSS leader Jogesh Kalita called for a halt to the ongoing talks with Bodo organisations on the Bodoland issue as "the Bodos who are in minority in BTAD were dominating the major population of non-Bodo communities with their weapons and political power".
All Bodo Minority Students Union publicity secretary Mehdi Hasan Mandal warned the Bodo extremists to restrain themselves from indulging in violence on non-Bodos, else face the collective wrath of non-Bodo communities.
Bengali Student Youth Federation Bijni unit vice president Ganesh Das also addressing the rally claimed his community has been facing harassment from Bodo extremist outfits which asked the people to leave BTAD if they are unable to pay Bodoland tax.
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