Shoot-at-sight order issued in Karbi Anglong, Bodoland agitators snap north-east rail link

Shoot-at-sight orders have been issued in central Assam’s Karbi Anglong district as large-scale arson by Statehood supporters continued in different parts of the Hill district and also on the outskirts of Diphu where curfew has been clamped and the Army staged a flag march. Supporters of the movement for a separate Bodoland snapped the rail link between the North-east and the rest of India on Friday.

The State government has kept the Army on standby. Assam has borne the brunt of the fallout of the decision to create a separate Telangana, with old demands for statehood getting a new life and fresh impetus.

In Assam, the Bodos have revived their movement for a separate State of Bodoland and some political parties and groups representing the Karbis and the Dimasas are seeking the creation of a State comprising the twin hill districts — Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao. The Koch-Rajbangshis are demanding the creation of a separate Kamatapur State comprising 15 districts of Assam and six districts of West Bengal, and some Dimasa groups are demanding a separate Dimasa land comprising Dima Hasao hill district, Dimasa-inhabited areas of Karbi Anglong and Nagaon districts and Dimapur of Nagaland.

Thousands of people responding to a call for a rail roko given by the the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) squatted on the rail track at Kokrajhar station. The rail link with the rest of India remained snapped for 12 hours. Holding placards that said “Assam Good Bye” and “No Bodoland No Rest”, movement supporters raised slogans flaying the Centre for ignoring their demand.

The ABSU has also called for a 60-hour bandh from 5 a.m. of August 5 till 5 p.m. of August 7 as part of its ‘Do or Die’ movement. The ABSU has warned of launching a 1,000-hour economic blockade after Eid. A Bodo political party, United Democratic People’s Front (UDPF), has announced a 1,500-hour bandh from August 5.

Life in several lower Assam districts was affected for the second consecutive day due to a 36-hour Assam Bandh called by the All Koch-Rajbangshi Students Union and other Koch-Rajbangshi bodies that concluded on Friday afternoon.

In Karbi Anglong, four persons were injured when the police fired to disperse a mob that attacked a police station in which several policemen were injured in stone pelting. Karbi Anglong Deputy Commissioner P.K. Buragohain told The Hindu that 14 persons in Diphu, 24 in Bokajan and seven in Hamren were arrested on charges of arson and destruction of public property. Agitators torched several government offices, a food processing centre, public vehicles, and obstructed the movement of security forces by felling trees and keeping boulders on roads. The rail track in the Lilang area of the hill district was damaged, disrupting train services to and from upper Assam.