ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Chance in Assam

Chance in Assam The decision of the AII-Bodo Students Union (ABSU) headed by Upendranath Brahma to suspend unilaterally its 19-month long agitation for the separation of what arc claimed to be plains tribes majority areas on the north bank of the Brahmaputra and the constitution of these areas into a union territory as a 'tribal homeland' provides a welcome opportunity for the political leadership in Assam to arrive at a working settlement of a major problem that has caused much hardship on all sides, besides taking a toll of several lives. The agitation which began in March last year has gone on relentlessly, its several phases including mass rallies and demonstrations, mass hunger strikes, padayatras, road and rail roko programmes, and bundhs of increasingly longer duration from symbolic 12-hour bundhs to crippling 100-hour ones. Inevitably, (here has been violence; the ABSU leadership and the state government have accused each other of indulging in violent activities and police atrocities, both perhaps accurately The specific measures adopted by the government to control and suppress the agitation have included virtually permanent promulgation of Section 144 of the CrPC in Kokrajhar district and Udalguri sub-division of Darrang district (the only two areas where the ABSU agitation has substantial support, though much larger claims are made by the ABSU), the use of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act and police raids. All this had undoubtedly generated extreme bitterness on all sides. The killings have been particularly gruesome and appear to have hardened the attitude of the state government.

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