Calling bandh is illegal: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Calling bandh is illegal: Himanta Biswa Sarma
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The Assam Bandh called by 46 organisations Tuesday, has stirred a lot of controversies in the state. A senior Assam minister said the 12-hour bandh cannot be allowed.

Assam Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said Monday that Gauhati High Court had ruled that calling a bandh was an illegal act and so the bandh called by 46 organisations cannot be allowed.

The High Court in 2013 had banned bandhs in the state and termed it "unconstitutional and illegal".

The organisations have called the bandh to protest against the Centre's bid to pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, in the winter session of Parliament.

Political parties, including the Congress, have extended their support to the bandh, led by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP).

Speaking to the media, Sarma said, the High Court had ruled in 2013 that calling of bandh was illegal and as such "we have to follow the court's order and ensure that there is no bandh Tuesday".

"All shops and business establishments should remain open while government employees must report for their duties or else it will be treated as a contempt of court," he said.

KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi said that this was the first time that they had called a bandh and would not call it off as the very "existence of the Assamese people and their identity is at stake".

Sarma also said that following an assessment of the prevailing law and order situation in the state, permission will not be granted for the November 17 convention organized by the Citizen Right Protection Forum, Assam (CRPFA), a conglomeration of 26 Bengali organisations, in support of the Citizenship Bill.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in the Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians who fled religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before December 31, 2014.

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