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Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Today is the 21st July: Let’s pay homage to the Martyrs


Swajatyer Ohomikar Theke Mukti Daner Shikkhai Ajaker Diner Prodhan Shikkha: Rabindranath Thakur


Let’s pay homage to the Martyrs of the 21st July.




I remember we’re in relaxed mood in Silchar. It was another cloudy day, without rain. Karimganj Branch of Barak Upatyaka Songram Somonnoy Somiti (A qualission of more then eleven student and youth organizations of the Valley) has given a call of Bandh on that day to express protest over Prafulla Mahanta’s Visit at Karimganj. From morning we were being informed that Bandh was total success. The CM failed participates in any public programme. From Morning Seven to Night at Eleven---was our working hours. Especially of those who were in leadership. I was the secretary of Cachar District branch of Songrame Somonnoy Somiti. All of us wanted rest for a day or two. On 21st July, 86 our central committee President Mihir Lal Roy was there in Central Road Office with a few other central committee leaders like Arup Baisya, Biplab Goswami, Tushar Pukayastha, Karuna Paul and many more. He wanted me to take rest and come whenever I feel to come. It was possibly 12 at noon; I was walking through the roads of Hospital Road. I had no bicycle then, no money to take rickshaws. We’re used to walk throughout the city, in those days. Very few had motorcycle in those days. None of us had a car. Suddenly, I show Pradeep Bhattacharjee, ex VP of GC College and president of BaVSA , one of the partners of the Somonyoy Somity , Coming towards Hospital Road from the Office with a few comrades. He was shouting at me, where were you! Police fired at Karimganj! Many people have died! They are coming at Silchar Medical College. We’ll have to go their and collect as many as blood donors. Out of anxiety, I suggested, we’ve to make roads free first. And let’s people know what happened they will move them selves. Someone of us asked if I’m suggesting a sudden bandh call. I answered affirmative. So friends started raising slogans! It was spontaneous. I waked a few steps with them. Suddenly we show a city bus coming northwards from Medical College. We requested the driver and the passengers to help us. Passengers vacated the bus, the driver accompanied us to all our organizational base at Tarapur, Malugram, Madhurband, Rangirkhari and Meherpur . Pradeepda, Biswajit Paul Chaudhury and some others stayed back to make the bandh call a success. I moved with Kajal Laskar, Mukul Barbhuyan and others. We picked up the volunteers and reached the Medical College after a few hours. But, by then there were so many volunteers, that we had very little to be worried about. So some of us came back to think over the next step.

None of us know the actual fact. As you know, those days very few of us had private phone and TV. The concept of PCO was not in our imagination. So we gathered at the Idgah Road residence of the Owner of ‘Doinik Goti’—the then popular daily of the Valley---to see if he knows anything better. We show there that Doordoshon news at night covered the incident. We felt proud that at last whole nation will know the condition of our own people. But, that news even failed to satisfy our quarries. The name of Jaganmoy Deb and Jishu Das were doing around the dead. But, people went on saying that the number would be more. We came to know that police started combing operation in the Karimganj City. All the leaders there went underground. Police will do so in Silchar as well. When we left the place, we decided on road that we’ll not go for immediate agitation programme, rather we’ll help the victims.
I and Prasenjit had known face on those days. Because, most of the street corner meetings were addressed by us. So we were being compelled to go underground. I went to the villages of Barkhala and Bihara. There I tried to mobilise people against the police atrocities. I came back after a week or so. I came to know that police searched my home one night. They picked up my younger brother Sunirmal. He was being kept in lock up for a whole night and day. He was no way involved in the movement. He was just a young school going boy on those days.
While I was underground a huge Mass Procession was organised in Silchar to protest the police atrocities against the volunteers and common people. The state Government declared the postponement of the implementation of the Black SEBA circular on the very next 15 August. The Circular was never withdrawn completely. It was not a success of the people of the Barak valley only. Actually most of credit should go those Students Originations of the Brahmaputra valley who rallied under the then influential organisation AATSU. As far I know, all most all the tribal student organisation including Dimasa, Bodo and Karbi Students organisations were part of that Umbrella Organisation AATSU. The movement against SEBA circular didn’t ended there. Rather it was only opened the mouth a volcano which ejecting lava till today. All most all of the smaller identities of the state are now claiming a satisfactory political status which will make them live with honour and dignity. Some of the movement has taken ugly turn like DHD and NDFB. The SEBA circular of 1986 proved suicidal for greater Assamese Nation Building process. It only helped to derail the process for ever.
People opposed the circular tooth and nail. But, same people didn’t object while the same Assamese language was being introduced as elective language in the School Level. You know in this year only, one Sumit Deb of Patharkandi of same Karimganj District got highest number in Assamese as Elective subject in HSLC Examination. Friends, today is the 21st July. Let’s pay homage to the Martyrs for the causes of Linguistic right of the linguistic minorities of the state.


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