Assam govt to fix size of token weapons during rallies

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Guwahati, Dec 2 (UNI) The Assam government today said that it was contemplating a legislation to fix the size of weapons, like bow-arrow and daggers, that are carried during processions as cultural and traditional tokens.

The new law was being mulled after a rally by adivasis turned violent in Guwahati on November 24 as they clashed with the locals, leaving one dead and 250 injured. The adivasi protestors were carrying bow-arrows and sticks, regarded as traditional items of the community and closely related with their culture.

Moreover, the state government has also decided to go strict on any protest, held in a democratic manner, that threatens to turn violent, including tomorrow's road blockade called by adivasi students.

Talking to reporters here, state government spokesperson and Cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sharma said, ''We have directed all DCs and SPs to be on high alert and control the law and order situation in their areas during the blockade period.

We will not oppose a democratic protest but won't allow any violence or provocation by the protestors,'' he added. He also informed that some miscreants had prepared an edited CD of November 24 incidents and were plotting to screen those in tea gardens to incite unrest.

''We have directed the district administration to seize such CDs and book charges against violators,'' Dr Sharma said.

The matter will also be investigated in greater detail, he said, adding a judicial inquiry instituted to investigate the November 24 happenings had already issued advertisements and would complete its report swiftly.

Referring to the government's recommendation for a CBI inquiry, the minister said since it would take some time, the judicial inquiry will commence as slated.

To a poser whether protestors will be allowed to carry bow-arrow, sticks or daggers during democratic protests, Dr Sharma said these items were closely related to the cultural and traditional values of many communities and would be allowed only for those communities.

He, however, added that the government was contemplating a law that would fix the size of such weapons as was done when the VHP had distributed 'trishuls'.


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