Assam village celebrates Independence Day with a 3.5 km long tricolour
Disturbed by the popular notion that their homeland is a conflict zone, inhabitants of a Baksa village, one of the four that form the Bodoland Territorial Administrative Districts (BTAD) in lower Assam, stitched up a 3.5 km long tricolour to celebrate Independence Day on Wednesday.
“We want to send a message that Bodoland is peaceful. There is no conflict and all the people are living in peace,” said Pavan Oli, the assistant secretary of Sunrise Society, a local youth group in Uparkhuti village that came up with the idea.
Oli said the thought of the longest tricolour struck last year when they found that the longest till date has been a 3.2 km long flag. “We wanted to better that,” said Oli, who belongs to the Nepali community. He took part in the rally that had school kids, local women’s groups and others who carried the tricolour through the village.
The tricolour, stitched by six village tailors, cost about Rs 4 lakh, part of which was subsidised by the local Bodo legislator and MP.
BTAD has been a theatre of violence for long. It was in 2014, that the region last saw two episodes of ghastly violence, one targeting Muslims, and the other targeting Adivasis or the tea tribes, prompting the Centre to initiate Operation All Out to flush out the cadres of the NDFB(S), a secessionist insurgent group.
Asked if there was any threat from the group, Oli said the only people who have been curious are the media from different parts of the country.
While there were no reports of any untoward incident from the state, the general defiance of the diktat by insurgents like ULFA(I) to not celebrate Independence Day was visible in Guwahati, too.
However, plans to hoist the tricolour on the third tallest flag pole in the country could not materialise as the ancillary works could not be completed in time for Independence Day, authorities said, adding how the 308-ft tall flag post will take another three to four days to get ready.
Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, meanwhile, addressing a function in Guwahati said his government is working for a state free of corruption, foreigners and pollution.
Lauding the work of those engaged in updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Sonowal said the exercise would “protect the identity of the indigenous people of Assam and flush out illegal immigrants”. The complete NRC draft has drawn flak for allegedly clubbing several genuine Indian citizens among the 40,07,707 people excluded from the list.