A dawn to dusk bandh called in the state capital by the Congress in Arunachal Pradesh on Friday failed to create any impact here. Shops and business establishments remained open, while government offices and banks functioned normally. Private and commercial vehicles were also seen plying on the roads. The bandh passed off peacefully with no incidents of violence reported from any part of the twin capital cities of Itanagar and Naharlagun, the police said.
The district administration had declared the bandh illegal and directed all employees to attend offices. The Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) called the bandh in protest against the state government’s decision of not releasing chief secretary in charge Satya Gopal from the state even after he was being transferred by the union home ministry in May.
The Congress has accused Satya Gopal of misguiding the Election Commission, which resulted in deferment of the July 29 by-election to Pakke-Kessang Assembly seat, on the pretext of landslide and floods in the state. The BJP government in the state criticised Congress for calling the bandh at a time when the entire government machinery is busy in restoring normalcy in the aftermath of the recent monsoon deluge that has claimed 19 lives so far. State government spokesman Bamang Felix told reporters that the Congress has no issue for calling the bandh.
Claiming that the bandh was a total failure as all educational institutions, commercial establishments and markets remained open during the day, Felix said people have rejected the culture of bandh. Felix, who is also state PHE minister, said bandh is illegal by nature as it affects normal life and the BJP government will not allow bandhs called by any organisation. “Transfer and posting of an officer is a normal procedure and the government will release Gopal when his reliever arrives,” he said.
“We had informed this to the Congress party in writing, but they continued with their bandh call. There are several democratic means to lodge protests without hampering economic activities of the state,” Felix said. The APCC in a statement, however, claimed the bandh as successful. “We are surprised to see that the state government is spending so much to safeguard a tainted officer. Instead, the amount could have been used for development work or distribution of scholarships,” the party said. The party will continue with its agitation programmes till Satya Gopal is released from the state, the Congress said.