News & Information From Northeast India

Lesson from BTC bandhs, every other day: Ending the bandh culture

Bandhs have become an integral part of Assam and more specifically the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) region where even a least-heard political, non-political organization and student organization call for days-long bandh on trivial issues.

The organizations, who, for their vested interests and political mileage, call for such bandhs act like a messiah and behave as if they echo the voice of the people and society. The recent controversy over land rights in BTC has called for long bandhs in the BTAD districts but even after clearing the air on the issue by BTC chief Hagrama Mahillary, the organizations seem to be adamant in continuing its bandh.

The culture of ‘bandhs’ paramount in the Northeast states goes against the notion of individual rights, is a stigma on the effectiveness of local governance structures, and is unconstitutional to say the least. Who has been benefited by the so called ‘bandhs’ which has resulted in loss of crores of rupees for the local economies, especially the private sector.

The most affected are of course the daily-wage workers, who are dependent on day-to-day earning to feed their families never to say that it affects the life of students as the educational institutions remain closed because of these bandhs and even if they remain open, the students don’t get any mode of transportation to reach their schools.

Also, the hooliganism that the bandh supporters resort to, claims innocent lives… injures persons and destroys properties.

The bandh culture is not relevant in today’s context to pressurize the government or awaken the conscience of the people in a matter. It is against the democratic framework of the nation. It is high-time the lawmakers and concerned agencies amend bills and enact laws to end the stigma of bandhs that has haunted the countrymen for long.

It is also imperative that everyone join hands and put an end to the long prevailing “bandh culture”. This shouldn’t be an excuse for ‘no-work’.

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