Amidst the Centre, as well as the Assam government’s extensive ‘Har Ghar Tiranga’ campaign, two banned outfits – the United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) and NSCN on Saturday called for a total shut down on August 15. The militant groups announced their ‘boycott Independence Day Celebrations’ in five northeastern states – Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura and Meghalaya.
A communiqué, jointly issued to certain media establishments by the ULFA(I) and NSCN on Saturday, said “Our protest calls for a boycott of the fake Independence Day of colonial India and will be a total shutdown from 00:00 hrs to 18:00 hrs on August 15. However, there are no restrictions on emergency departments, media and religious activities during this period.”
The outfits further said, “We have been opposed to its celebrations in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya every year. This year too, we urge all political and national parties and the people of Assam and Nagaland as well as Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya at all levels to not participate in all forms of fake Independence Day activities and refrain from celebrating it at the individual level.”
Notably, the banned ULFA(I)’s call for a shutdown on the eve of Independence Day has been a tradition since decades. Ever since the formation of the ULFA, the outfit usually declares a formal boycott on August 15. Experts from different backgrounds speculated that the banned outfit may refrain from announcing a shutdown this year as Assam chief minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma made a series of appeals to the outfit’s supreme leader Paresh Baruah to come forward to the mainstream and join the table for negotiation. Baruah too made responding remarks to Dr Sarma’s appeal on different occasions. However, the militant groups’ joint shutdown announcement has indicated a fresh cracking on the discourse.