Two youths were arrested in Cachar district in Bengali-dominated southern Assam for allegedly defacing a government hoarding in Assamese, police said on Wednesday.
An official said that the Cachar district administration has recently erected a hoarding on the “Jal Jivan Mission”, and this had led to protests from various organisations including the Barak Democratic Front (BDF) and the All Bengali Youth and Students’ Organisation (ABYSO) for being in Assamese instead of Bengali language.
Police said that on Tuesday night, they arrested Samar Das and Raju Deb, who is the ABYSO district chief, for allegedly for defacing the hoarding though the duo denied the accusation.
BDF’s chief convener Pradip Datta Roy said that after the 1961 historic language movement that claimed 11 lives in police firing, Assam’s language act was amended making Bengali as the official language of southern Assam’s Barak Valley comprising three districts — Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakhandhi — inhabited by over four million people.
“Putting government hoarding written in Assamese language violated the language act. Three more people were martyred when massive protests had undertaken in 1972 and in 1986 against the conspiracies of imposing Assamese language in the Bengali-dominated Barak Valley region,” Roy told the media in Silchar.
However, the influential All Assam Students’ Union objected to the defacing of the hoarding written in Assamese, claiming that it is an insult to the language.
Meanwhile, another hoarding of the Industry Department written in English and Assamese language, put up in the neighbouring Karimganj district, was on Wednesday removed after the protests.