Wednesday, January 27, 2010
AN END TO BANDH CULTURE ?
A Division Bench of the Gauhati High Court, consisting of the Chief Justice Justy Chalemeswar and Justice A.C.Upadhaya recently delivered a historical judgment declaring the frequent bundh culture in the State of Assam as illegal. The judgment followed on the Public Interest Litigation petition fled by a retired police officer and Ex-Member of Parliament Ataur Rahman, a profound social worker Suchibrata Roychoudhury (now dead) and the renowned journalist Mrinal Hazarika seeking a verdict of the highest legal forum of the State covering the north east states of the country, in as much as such bandh calls are disrupting the normal way of life. The labour classes of people can not earn their daily wages, which continues some time for days together. Naturally, such unfortunatepeople have to remain in hunger for deficiency of money power for purchase of food. The school and college students can not attend their classes and there is untold loss in the educational spheres. The office goers from outskirt and distant areas, can not attend offices and the functioning of the offices remains paralyzed. Even, if some office goers take attempt to attend the offices; they have to come across various threats including for life. The bundh culture is spreading so heavily and rapidly that it has obviously become a curse in the civilized society. The bundh callers fail to realize and appreciate the consequential ill effect of the bundh in social life. They make misuse of the constitutional right, namely, right to speech and expression or right to association by extending it to bundh culture. The bundh culture is intended to reflect the act of protest, which is considered to be unwarranted and odd designed. In such exercise, there is dearth of knowledge towards evaluation on the concept of democracy as well as the republican thought. The bundh culture got priority at the time of foreigners’ movement in Assam in 1979 at the behest of the All Assam Students Union, associated by other ingredient parties and organizations under the banner of the ‘Ganasangram Samitee’. Even they took the self-designed administrative power to declare “Janata Curfew´ to enforce such bandh. They disassociated themselves from participating in the National programmes like Independence day, Republic day and forced the mass people to refrain from participation in such holy functions of the auspicious days. What this people used to do after coming to the power is indeed a shameful part of the history. This, in fact, has been made precedence and the agitators and the bandh callers of various groups or organizations are following the suit. The United Liberation front of Assam, a part acts of other brutal and unlawful activities, simultaneously uses to declare bundh and the innocent people have no other alternative, but to abide by such unlawful- designed calls. When the ‘ Assam Bundh’ and ‘Bharat Bandh’ calls are operative, the ’district bandh’ and ‘regional bandh’ are as well parallely gaining the momentum. There are various types of demands like providing autonomy, creating Statehood and even acquiring independence and sovereignty. That means, all are hankering after power to establish themselves in the power scenario. There is least thought for the welfare and upliftment of the common people, but to install in power- no matter whether the unity and integrity of the country get any set back. This bandh culture has spread so speciously that there no surety to reach the destination of perambulation within the time bound programme. The time factor is now irrelevant, but the bandh factor has to be reckoned in every step and given due cognizance. These unhealthy and unhygienic bandh culture; on the other hand, have been prominently cubing the mobilization of resources and the State economy has been put to a doldrums. The road-bandh being an inherent and integral part of the bandh culture, there is unhealthy and irritating blockade of transportation of goods and passengers. In fact, Assam is solely dependent of the essential commodities and other important commodities from places out side the State. The movement of goods to the other six sister States takes place through the corridor of Assam and naturally the economic activities of the said States get jeopardized. When the road blockade takes places, there is dearth of import with consequential shortfall of supplies. It is well known that price hike irrespective of any commodities have been spreading so widely like wild fire that there is unbearable murmuring of the incapable purchasers seeking solution. The benign Governments at the State and centre are keeping mum and practically remained cipher. We hail the verdict of the High Court, which provided relief to the mass people of the State. The verdict of the court will not , however, be enough, but there must be law to enforce the verdict incorporated with penal measures. The ball is now at the court of the Government. If the Government thinks seriously and sincerely for the welfare and prosperity of the people, the bandh episode will have to seek adieu soon and the people can confidently hope that the end will be knocking at the door.