A 1,000-hour bandh in Karbi Anglong district in Assam from Monday has caused serious concern in Nagaland with its chief minister TR Zeliang seeking immediate intervention of the Centre so that road communication to the adjoining hill state was not cut off.
Zeliang in fact has dashed off a letter to union home minister Rajnath Singh saying the proposed bandh would not only cut off road communication but also affect supply of essential items including foodgrains, medicine, petroleum products etc to Nagaland as well as Manipur.
The bandh has been called by the Joint Action Committee for Autonomous State (JACAS) of Karbi Anglong demanding creation of an autonomous state out of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao, the two hill districts of Assam.
Seeking immediate intervention of the union home minister, Zeliang said while frequent bandhs in Karbi Anglong district in Assam has always caused endless problems for Nagaland and Manipur, issues raised during most of these bandhs including the proposed 1000-hour one were not even remotely connected to Nagaland.
While National Highway 29 from Numaligarh in Assam is the only lifeline for Nagaland and Manipur, about 23 kms of this highway passes through Karbi Anglong district in Assam which is known for frequent bandhs, strikes and numerous incidents of violence. Though Assam Police once in a while provides armed escorts to vehicles en route to Nagaland, incidents of stone-pelting have become common.
The Nagaland chief minister had in a meeting of the Northeastern chief ministers held in Guwahati on August 21, specifically raised the issue of frequent bandhs in Assam affecting normal life in Nagaland and Manipur. He had also called upon Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi and union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju to consider the issue of frequent bandhs in with serious concern.
Karbi Anglong deputy commissioner PK Buragohain said the district authorities would ensure free movement of vehicles including those bound for Nagaland and Manipur by providing armed escorts on the national highway. “We will ensure that no disruption occurs on NH29,” he said.
Meanwhile, a spokesman of JACAS said the 1,000-hour bandh has been called in order to press for resumption of talks with central government on the issue of creating an autonomous state encompassing the two 6th Schedule hill districts of Assam and introduction of a bill in Parliament for creation of the autonomous state in the winter session. “We want the government of India finalize the structure of the autonomous state on the basis of the proposal submitted by JACAS on November 6, 2013 to the ministry of home affairs,” the JACAS spokesman said.