Mixed response to Bharat Bandh in Assam, many protesters held

Guwahati: The nationwide shutdown, called by the farmers” unions, evoked a mixed response in Assam on Tuesday with shops pulling down their shutters, protesters blocking traffic, and Congress and Left supporters staging demonstrations, even as most of the offices were functioning.

Dozens of protesters were detained in various parts of the state, while the movement of fuel tankers was affected due to the support extended to the ”Bharat Bandh” by their unions, officials said.

Altogether 14 opposition parties, including the Congress, AIUDF and Left, and many social organisations in Assam extended their support to the shutdown, called by farmers” unions, demanding the repeal of the three new farm laws.

In Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Sivasagar, Lakhimpur and Hojai, most of the shops were closed and very few vehicles were on the roads. A few government buses were running, leading to difficulties for the commuters.

All long-distance buses and commercial vehicles were off the roads, a member of their union said.

At several places, protesters, mainly of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and the CPI(M)-backed SFI, burnt tyres on the roads and tried to block the traffic. Police detained most of them, an official said.

Around 15 members of the KMSS were detained in Sivasagar, while half-a-dozen SFI activists were picked up when they staged a dharna in front of the State Bank of India”s Northeast head office in Guwahati.

Congress Spokesperson Rhituporna Konwar said the party”s every ”mandal committee” staged protests at paddy fields with farmers and burnt the prime minister”s effigies across the state.

An official of PSU major Indian Oil said loading and unloading of LPG at their North Guwahati and Mirza plants were totally stopped after the tankers” unions decided to extend support to the bandh.

Ruling BJP”s ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) also extended their support to the protesting farmers, but refrained from enforcing the bandh. PTI

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