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Welcome to the paradise of the spineless – We are Assamese, ‘Bhasha Shaheeds’ are dead and so are their descendants

After several bouts of interrogation and breathless efforts to find some ploy to lodge Pradip Dutta Roy in jail, the government has finally succeeded. For the Government, it was a question of evaluating the reaction, the aftermath, the fall out and the after effects of arresting someone for standing up to Assamese imposition. Several rounds of summoning Pradip Dutta Roy for interrogation was a ploy to test the waters. It was how the Government was ensuring whether there is any semblance of a spine in any of the citizens of Barak Valley. It was a hunch to know whether the people of Barak Valley have any memory of 19th May, 1961. It was a stratagem to know whether the Bengali class consciousness has been completely obliterated by religious schisms. It was how the government yelled into the abyss,” IS THERE ANY BENGALI ALIVE HERE?” And the abyss reassuringly echoed, “WE ARE ALL DEAD, MASTER.”

The other day, the Honourable chief minister of Assam, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sharma, had set the perfect stage for the display of the brash might of the state machinery. “I will speak in Assamese when I visit Barak Valley” to “Barak Valley has been captured by AIUDF” to “You will see what I do to those who are doing all this,” the signs were patently visible.  

On the premise of an interrogation, the Cachar Police arrested Pradip Dutta Roy on charges framed on the basis of a dubious FIR filed by an obscure organization called Hindu Yuva Parishad. CrPC clearly mandates for a medical check up of the arrested person. The Cachar Police, surrounded with four black panther commando vehicles, took Pradip Dutta Roy to Silchar Civil Hospital. Once he was referred to Silchar Medical College and Hospital, the motorcade started to move towards SMCH. Then suddenly, as if under orders from high above, the motorcade took an U turn and went straight to CJM’s court. 

At night, despite the court rested in its fourth Saturday holiday, the CJM court began the proceedings under the presiding officer Rupak Rajjak. What grave threat to national integrity that the CJM had to convene the court on a holiday!

Pradip Dutta Roy’s counsel repeatedly pleaded to the court to grant him bail on the grounds that he is a liver transplant patient who is not in a condition to bear the rigours of jail. While the CJM noted the medical urgency of the accused in his order, he sent him to jail nonetheless. One can only wonder what does the Supreme Court’s directive of bail being the rule while jail being the exception actually means. One can only wonder how an acutely ill liver transplant patients be of such grave threat to the ongoing investigation that he had to be thrown into a jail. As the bottomline stands, Dr. Himanta Biswa Sharma’s promise of teaching Pradip Dutta Roy a lesson is fulfilled. The police, the judiciary and the citizenry have together ensured that Pradip Dutta Roy is taught a lesson without any repercussions whatsoever. 

It is worth pointing out that no Bengali organization has come out in the open to express solidarity with Pradip Dutta Roy. The leaders of our valley have mortgaged their identity to their masters a long time ago and hence any expectation from them is laughable. The civil society is in a state of deep slumber. Perhaps, all of them are busy organising a felicitation programme for Shrinkhal Chaliha for his extraordinary effort in making us realise how Assamese we are ! How dependent we are! How impotent we are! 

Cachar Police’s decision of cordoning off Pradip Dutta Roy with black Panther commandos seems to have been utterly unnecessary. Perhaps, the police were anticipating a full blown protest against such brutish display of power. Perhaps, the Government was expecting a few organisations to be shocked at Pradip Dutta Roy’s arrest. Perhaps, the entire state machinery was apprehensive of a backlash from the civil society. None of it happened. None of it will ever happen. The legacy of the Bhasha Shaheeds was dragged like a stray dog along the heart of Silchar in broad daylight yesterday and the descendants of Bhasha Shaheeds extracted sadistic delight out of this blood cuddling affair. The Valley is dead. And the dead don’t speak. 

Welcome to the land of the spineless.

The reponsibility of this editorial lies with Anirban Roy Choudhury.

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