12-hour shutdown against killings hits life in Assam

Guwahati, Dec 26 (IANS) A 12-hour dawn-to-dusk shutdown Friday called to denounce the killing of a large number of tribals by Bodo militants affected normal life across Assam, officials said.

Adivasis or tribals took to the streets in large numbers with bows and arrows to protest the Dec 23 killings blamed on the anti-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).
Streets wore a deserted look during the bandh and most of the commercial establishments, educational institutions and others remained closed.
There were also reports of stray incidents of violence from different parts of the state as bandh supporters blocked vehicular traffic at many places and damaged public property, forcing police to resort to lathi charge in many places, including Guwahati.
Two city buses run by the Assam State Transport Corporation were damaged by the bandh supporters at Bhangagarh and Christian Basti areas of Guwahati, police said.
Police resorted to lathi charge at the city’s Fancy bazaar area, where people came out in huge numbers to enforce the bandh.
No one was, however, injured during the bandh, police said, adding that some of the bandh supporters have been arrested and released after the bandh ended.
The shutdown was called by several adivasi groups, including the All Adivasi Students’ Association of Assam and All Tai Ahom Students’ Union.
The Assam Yuva Parishad, the youth wing of the Asom Gana Parishad, All Assam Tea Tribes Student Association, Adivasi Chhatra Sangathan, Akhil Assam Bhojpuri Parishad and All Assam Minority Students’ Union some other groups supported the shutdown.
Several prominent citizens also staged a sit-in-demonstration at Dighalipukhuri area in Guwahati to protest against the killings and demanding security for the people in the violence-hit Kokrajhar, Sonitpur and Chirang districts.
Some of the violence affected people in Sonitpur district, mostly adivasis, took to the streets in large numbers with bows and arrows to protest the killings.
In Kokrajhar, violence affected people and many other organisations blocked the roads to protest against the killings. They also shouted slogans against the perpetrators of violence.
The protests were more intense in upper Assam districts, particularly in the tea belt areas of Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Sivsagar districts, where there is a sizable population belonging to the tea tribes and adivasi communities.
Some of the protestors also set a truck on fire in Dibrugarh expressing their anger against the recent massacre.
Official sources said at least 60 adivasis were massacred by Bodo militants Tuesday in Kokrajhar, Sonitpur and Chirang districts, while 10 Bodos were killed in retaliatory attacks.
Three people died Wednesday when police opened fire at thousands of people who took to the streets in Dhekiajuli in Sonitpur district to protest the Bodo militant attack.