Thousands of farmers, students, women activists, workers and trade union activists courted arrest across Assam in response to a jail bharo programme called by the State-unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in protest against the government’s failure to curb prices and demanding food security.

They were lodged in temporary jails and released in the afternoon.

Earlier, the protesters took out processions and staged demonstrations in front of the offices of Deputy Commissioners, Sub-Divisional Officers and Block Development offices. They shouted slogans demanding a ban on futures trade in essential commodities, and against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre and the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government in the State, blaming them for price hike.

Holding placards and banners, party activists demanded that the Central and State governments universalise the public distribution system. They demanded punishment for black marketeers and hoarders, lowering of the prices of petrol and diesel, increase in public spending on food production, grant of land rights to landless farmers and ensuring just prices to farmers for their produce.