Successive shutdowns disrupt life in northeast

Saturday, January 22, 2011

SILCHAR - Continuous shutdowns in southern Assam have affected rail and road traffic as well as supply of essential goods between the northeastern states and the rest of India, officials said Saturday.

According to a district administration official, life was severely disrupted when a 36-hour shutdown by the joint action committee of Dimaraji tribals that ended Thursday was followed by a 100-hour strike by the Indigenous People’s Forum (IPF), an umbrella organisation of different Non-Dimasa tribals, comprising Kuki, Naga, Paite and Hmar.

The Dimaraji tribals observed the strike demanding a separate state (for the Dimaraji tribals) comprising four districts of southern Assam - Dima Hasao, Karbi Anglong, Nagaon and Cachar.

The shutdown, which ended Thursday morning disrupted rail and road traffic between Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram and southern Assam and the rest of India.

Within hours of the shutdown ending, the Indigenous People’s Forum (IPF) called a 100-hour long strike beginning Friday evening demanding bifurcation of the Dima Hasao district.

The Assam government has further tightened security in the troubled areas, mostly mountainous places.

Following the strikes, the Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR) has again cancelled several trains for an indefinite period in Tripura, Manipur, Mizoram and southern Assam.

“Keeping in mind that the separatist outfits may create violence ahead of and during Republic Day celebrations, the NFR has also suspended passenger trains during night in entire Assam,” a railway statement said.

The metre gauge railway line from Guwahati passes through southern Assam’s mountainous North Cachar district connecting landlocked Tripura’s capital Agartala and parts of Manipur and Mizoram with the rest of India.

“Because of the strikes and the suspension of train services, the supply of food grain and fuels is likely to be affected in Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur and southern Assam,” Tripura’s food and civil supplies department director K.D. Chaudhury told IANS.

Rail transport is the main mode of transport in the landlocked region for supplying foodgrain and other essential items.

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