The ruling BJP on Tuesday alleged that a "third force" had incited organisations in the state to smear a government hoarding written in Assamese with black ink in Bengali-dominated Silchar. This "third force" had also incited organisations to demand replacing of the Assamese advertisement with a Bengali one, the saffron party said.
The force wants to disrupt the peace and harmony prevailing in the state, but their attempts have been thwarted by quick action by the administration and sensible reaction from the public, it said. The saffron party also claimed that Congress, Left parties and fundamentalist groups have been trying to divide the people of Assam along linguistic lines since decades. BJP spokesperson Ramakrishna Ghosh said Assamese and Bengalis have always lived in harmony in the state and there is no conflict - political, social or economic between them. Assam has been home to different languages like Karbi, Mising and Bodo, for ages and Assamese has been the unifying language for all the people. Likewise, Assamese and Bengali languages have complimented each other in their growth over the centuries, Ghosh and another BJP spokesperson Ranjib Kumar Sharma said in a joint statement here. However, using the divide and rule policy of the British, the Congress, Left parties and fundamentalist groups have been trying to create between Assamese and Bengali speakers for decades now, they said.
The Silchar police has already lodged an FIR against the incident and started probing it. A hoarding of Jal Jeevan Mission in Assamese was defaced allegedly by members of Barak Democratic Youth Front (BDYF) and All Bengali Students Youth Organisation (ABSYO) on Sunday demanding the use of Bengali in place of Assamese in the Barak valley region. Visuals showed alleged activists of the two organsisations climbing a ladder and defacing the hoarding in front of Silchar railway station. They also wrote 'Bangla likhun' (write in Bengali) and the names of the two organisations below it. Most hoardings and other public displays in Barak Valley are generally in Bengali. The Assam Official Language Act, 1960, had adopted Assamese as the official language of the state. It included provisions for use of Bengali for all administrative and official purposes in the Bengali-majority Barak Valley which comprise Cachar, Karimganj, and Hailakandi districts. The use of Bengali for official purposes was authorised following a mass movement by the Bengali-speaking population, specially in Barak valley, which had also led to the death of 11 protestors at Silchar railway station on May 16, 1961.