Hoarding removal issue: Leader in Assam's Barak Valley arrested under sedition charges

Following this, some people had defaced several signboards written in Bengali in Guwahati which is in the Brahmaputra Valley.Government signposts and hoardings in the Barak valley where more than 36 lakh people live have since the 1960s been tri-lingual, including in Bengali which is the predominant language in the region.


PTI | Guwahati | Updated: 27-11-2021 23:44 IST | Created: 27-11-2021 23:44 IST
Hoarding removal issue: Leader in Assam's Barak Valley arrested under sedition charges
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After a government hoarding in Assamese was removed from Silchar in Bengali-majority Barak Valley following a demand in this regard, the police on Saturday arrested the convenor of a political party who had made the call for it, for sedition after intense questioning, an official said.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed that some vested interests are trying to make vulnerable the Bengali-speaking community living in Brahmaputra Valley where Assamese speakers are in greater number.

A government hoarding on COVID-19 vaccination drive in Assamese was put up in Silchar in Cachar district following which the Convenor of Barak Democratic Front (BDF) Pradip Dutta Roy had issued an ultimatum that it should be removed within 48 hours, and accordingly, it was done on Friday.

Dutta Roy was summoned for questioning on Friday and again on Saturday when he was arrested.

He was charged under IPC sections 153A (promoting disharmony between groups), 295 (defilement of an object held sacred), 295A (outraging religious feelings), 124 A (sedition) and others, the official said.

''Nobody can hurt the Assamese language as it is there in our hearts'' but this is a political conspiracy to make the 20 lakh Bengali-speaking people living in the Brahmaputra Valley vulnerable, the chief minister alleged while addressing a press conference.

The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), considered a party with Muslim support base, is using Hindu Bengalis of the Barak Valley region to further its political interests, he claimed.

''The Hindu Bengalis have become a minority in Barak Valley and the AIUDF is using these people to further its political interests. Most of the assembly seats in the valley were won by the AIUDF and we know that the strategy is to create fear among Bengalis of Brahmaputra Valley so that they shift their allegiance to it,'' Sarma said.

Bengali-speaking leaders in the Brahmaputra Valley have also lodged strong protests against the incident and people are united against such forces, Sarma added.

Earlier in October, a state government hoarding written in Assamese has been found smeared with black ink in Silchar allegedly by members of two organisations demanding the use of Bengali in place of Assamese in the Barak valley region. Following this, some people had defaced several signboards written in Bengali in Guwahati which is in the Brahmaputra Valley.

Government signposts and hoardings in the Barak valley where more than 36 lakh people live have since the 1960s been tri-lingual, including in Bengali which is the predominant language in the region. The Assam Official Language Act, 1960, adopted Assamese as the official language of the state, but included provisions for use of Bengali for all administrative and official purposes in the Bengali-majority Barak Valley of the state, comprising Cachar, Karimganj, and Hailakandi districts.

The use of Bengali language for official purposes was authorised following a mass movement by the Bengali-speaking population in Barak valley, which saw the death of 11 protestors in police firing at Silchar Railway Station on May 16, 1961.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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