12-hour bandh observed in parts of Assam to protest killing of 5 men in Tinsukia; police detain over 700 protesters

Guwahati: Protesters squatted on railway tracks, pelted stones at vehicles and burnt tyres on roads in some districts of Assam during a 12-hour state-wide bandh on Saturday, called to protest the gunning down of five men in Tinsukia district.

The police detained over 700 protesters in the bandh, the impact of which was partial across the state barring Bengali-dominated Barak valley and a few places in Brahmaputra valley where normal life was considerably affected.

"715 picketers detained across the state until now. We stand resolute on our promise of ensuring public order for the people of #Assam (sic)," the state police said on Twitter.

 12-hour bandh observed in parts of Assam to protest killing of 5 men in Tinsukia; police detain over 700 protesters

A closed market in Assam on account of the bandh called on Saturday. PTI

Shops, business establishments, education institutions and private offices remained closed and most vehicles stayed off the roads in the Barak Valley districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi due to the bandh which was called by the All Assam Bangali Yuba Chatra Federation, All Assam Bengali Students Union and some other like-minded organisations to protest the killings of five

The bandh in Barak Valley was supported by the Opposition Congress. The ruling BJP extended support to it in Hailakandi as per its district president Subrata Nath.

Congress MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha, who hit the streets in Silchar to impose the bandh, was picked up by the police, officials said, adding that the legislator was released later.

Demanding security for Bengali-speaking people, agitators squatted on the tracks at Lumding Rail Station in Hojai district to block the movements of Brahmaputra Express and other trains, officials said. The agitators were soon removed from the tracks.

The bandh supporters burnt tyres on the roads at various places across the state, but were cleared by security personnel promptly, police said.

At Samuguri and Amoni in Hojai, bandh picketers and supporters blocking the highway pelted stones at vehicles, damaging several buses and trucks.

There were reports of clashes between supporters of the bandh and those opposing it at Jogighopa in Bongaigaon district, but the situation was brought under control soon.

The bandh had minimal impact in Guwahati, where normal life continued as usual. Offices, commercial establishments, educational institutions and banks remained open. Buses and other modes of public transport plied on the roads like any other day.

The bandh sponsors exempted Tinsukia and Dibrugarh from their bandh call as the two districts had observed a similar strike on Friday from 5 am to protest against the killings.

On Friday, the Assam government in a written order had directed deputy commissioners to ensure normal functioning of all government establishments, smooth vehicular movement and opening of business establishments.

The order also directed all security agencies to be kept on high alert to prevent any breach of peace which may lead to law and order issues.

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Updated Date: Nov 03, 2018 22:01:33 IST