The 12-hour Assam bandh called by the All Adivasi Students’ Association of Assam (AASAA) affected central Assam district Biswanath and Sonitpur specially Gohpur ,sub division and Tezpur sub division.
The protesters blocked NH 15 in various places on Monday like Dhekiajuli, Thelamara, Misamari in Sonitpur district and Gohpur in Gohpur sub division in Biswanath district. The protesters burned tires on National Highway 15 started blockade at Helem under Gohpur subdivision in central Assam’s Biswanath district demanding increase in wages of tea garden workers.
The protesters blocked the highway from morning 7 am to 2 pm. Agitators from different parts of the district joined and forced the vehicles to stop. Passenger vehicle were stranded till afternoon .
Aklush Karmakar President of Gahpur Anchali said, “We blocked the NH-15 at Helem for two hours for our rights but the government machineries did not give any interest to our issues.
He said, “We demanded the increase of the tea worker’s wage from Rs 137 to Rs 350 with immediate effect. In this regard, we had submitted a memorandum to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal through the Helem Circle Officer on March 6. We further demanded Schedule Tribe status which is already there for us in other states of India.” But there is no response from the government , resulting in the Bandh on Monday, he rued.
He alleged that the wage of Rs 137 per day was not enough for a family, but the garden authorities and the state government were not taking any initiative despite repeated demands for the increase.
He lamented that the government used them only as vote bank since long; an attitude always prevalent in case of all indigenous communities. “The tea garden workers are always neglected by both the state and central governments after any election. Everybody forgets these people,” he alleged.
The apex tea tribe students’ organizations of Assam also demanded granting of Schedule Tribe status to the Adivasi people who have been dwelling in the state since the British rule.
They further demanded essential commodities for the garden workers under public distribution system. During bandh no untoward incident was reported.