Bandhs mar blast-scarred Assam

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Guwahati, Nov 2: Blast-scarred Assam is now grappling with a series of politically-motivated bandhs with aid to the injured lying in hospitals most severely hit by the strikes.

The blast-ravaged towns of Guwahati, Kokrajhar, Barpeta Road and Bongaigaon have remained closed since Black Thursday when nine bombs ripped apart these towns, leaving 81 dead so far and over 400 injured. The day after was a spontaneous bandh observed by the people mourning the incident, though transportation system and basic amenities shops functioned normally. People queued up in long lines in front of each of the hospitals in the blast-ravaged towns to donate blood for the injured or offer help in every form possible.

However, the Sangh parivar-sponsored statewide bandh yesterday brought things to a grinding halt all over, with attendants of the injured facing a harrowing time in reaching the hospitals.

Many injured people had been brought to Guwahati from the other towns for further treatment and attendants of these outstation patients had a more troubled time as they were faced with problems in even arranging food for themselves.

Today being a Sunday and a natural holiday, the state's apex students' body, All Assam Students' Union (AASU), chose to give a statewide bandh call on Monday.

The Assam Chamber of Commerce has also given a similar call on the same day.

With two organisations calling a bandh on the same day, life is again likely to be affected as people would fear to venture out apprehending more problems in already troubled times.

Notably, the state's main Opposition party Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has refrained from calling a bandh.

They had observed Black Day on Friday and sat on a demonstration in front of the Raj Bhavan today, but have stayed away from calling a bandh mainly due to the flak the bandh culture had drawn on earlier occasions.

A PIL has been lying pending for a final hearing at Gauhati High Court against bandhs as such strikes not only create problems for victims during similar times, but also spell trouble for the general public.

Individuals and groups had urged the Sangh Parivar to lift their bandh yesterday in view of the prevailing situation but the saffron brigade had gone ahead with its strike.

The general public's displeasure at such bandhs have been aired every time these bandhs are called, but those calling the strikes have chosen to turn a deaf ear to the problems of those very persons for whom they claim to have called the bandh.


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