GUWAHATI: After a restraining itself last year, Ulfa (I) on Saturday issued a boycott call of Independence Day and also called for a bandh on the day in a joint statement with NSCN (K-YA). Amid CM Himanta Biswa Sarma's ongoing efforts to bring Ulfa (I) to the discussion table and for the elusive peace agreement, the outfit had declared a unilateral ceasefire in May last year.
It then, for the first time since 1996, decided not to give a call to boycott the Independence Day last year. The outfit also refrained from giving a boycott call and bandh on last Republic Day. On both occasions, it cited "prevailing COVID-19' as the reason.
The outfit, in a statement on Saturday, stated, "The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the socio-economic development of the entire world as well as our WeSEA (Western South East Asia) region and thousands of indigenous farming families have lost their homes due to floods and landslides. Human resources are wasted due to inadequate utilization and consequently living with self-respect and dignity is now far from reality."
Rebel bandh to exclude emergency depts, media & religious activities
It added, "After 75 years of so-called independence, the indigenous are suffering from debt, GST, soaring prices of essential commodities and a hundred other problems. It is unfair, historically irrelevant, and worthless for a state, which is unable to stand by the suffering of people in such a time of declining living standards," to celebrate its 76th Independence Day."
It said the bandh will not be applicable to emergency departments, media and religious activities during this period.
Ahead of last Independence Day, Ulfa(I) had stated that it was staying away from calling any bandh but had appealed to people to register their protest democratically and by following Covid-19 protocol.