Bard of Blood: Assam Congress MLA Slashes Palm, Writes Bloody Protest Slogans against BJP Govt
Rupjyoti Kurmi said he was raising the issue of the closure of several public sector undertaking industries, leading to despair for thousands of families in the state.
Mariani MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi sitting on the Assam Assembly floor to write anti-government messages. (Image : Express)
A political protest in Assam got out of hand on Tuesday when a Congress legislator slit his palm using a blade and wrote slogans on sheets of paper with blood against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, alleging that it has failed to address people’s concerns.
MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi is known for his off-the-wall demonstrations to draw attention towards issues, observers say. The legislator from the Mariani assembly constituency was protesting against the Assam government’s alleged move to sell off Nagaon and Cachar Paper Mills, Brahmaputra Valley Fertilizer Corporation Ltd, Halmari Tea Estate in Dibrugarh and Ailabari Tea Estate in Karimganj.
Kurmi, who justified his act saying he was furious with the privatisation attempt, wrote on the paper in Assamese: “The honour and future of Assamese people would not be allowed to be sold off in the name of ‘Jati, Mati, Bheti’” (community, land and base) and “Joi Aai Asom” (glory to mother Assam). While sitting on the ground during the protest, he slit his left hand, finished the poster with his right, and showed it to everyone before being taken into custody by assembly security personnel.
Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami criticised Kurmi for this “nonsense” and “childish” act, and reminded him of assembly decorum. “How can you ignore assembly ethics when you are a three-time MLA? Proper action will be taken,” Goswami said, while he also ordered a probe and held an emergency meeting with the leader of the opposition and parliamentary affairs minister in the state on the issue.
Kurmi had on a previous occasion protested against the rise in prices of onions by wearing a garland made of the vegetable and lying at the entrance of the House.
Speaking to News18, Guwahati police commissioner Deepak Kumar said his department will take steps after discussions with the Speaker.
Leader of the opposition Debabrata Saikia distanced the Congress from Kurmi’s act, which he termed “personal” and “outrageous”.
"We support the cause but this was not at all acceptable. We have taken up the security issue with the Speaker,” he said. “How can someone enter here with a sharp object and inflict injury when there is assured tight security for elected representatives? Why was he not stopped by on-duty police? There is a serious lacuna in assembly security.”
Kurmi said his protest was because thousands of employees of the enterprises in Assam are going hungry due to non-payment of salaries for the last three months.
The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) last month ordered the liquidation of the Nagaon and Cachar paper mills after the central government refused to release Rs 98 lakh that Hindustan Paper Corporation Limited (HPCL) owed to Alloys and Metals (India) as payment for raw materials the latter supplied to the two paper mills.
Kurmi was taken for primary medical treatment and later joined the assembly session with a bandaged hand.
(With PTI inputs)
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