Guwahati, Monday, February 20, 2017
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Barpeta town observes bandh over new university announcement

A market wearing a deserted look during a daylong bandh called against the recent announcement of a new university at Bajali College by Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, in Barpeta on Saturday. – UB Photos
 BARPETA, Feb 19 - A dawn-to-dusk bandh was observed here on Saturday protesting the State Government’s announcement that the proposed Bhattadev University will be established at Pathshala in lieu of Barpeta. Though the bandh was peaceful and the people from all walks of life responded positively towards the bandh call.

 All the educational institutions, government offices, financial institutions and business establishments were closed while all kinds of vehicular traffic were off the road during the daylong bandh.

Agitated people demonstrated in some places of the town decrying the failure of the Education Minister to keep his pre-poll commitment to establish a university here if the AGP-BJP alliance candidate is elected to the Assembly. They termed it as a betrayal to the people of the town.

It may be mentioned here that the State Government in its first Budget announced establishment of one university each at Barpeta after the name of Bhattadev, at Bihpuria after Madhabdeva and at Hojai after Rabindranath Tagore. The decision was reiterated in the current Budget also. Meanwhile, BJP star campaigner Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is now Minister for Education, Finance and Health, assured the people during the electioneering in the last Assembly elections that if the alliance candidate is elected, the Government will present Barpeta with a university.

But to the utter surprise of the people of Barpeta, the same leader announced in the floor of the House that the proposed university will be located at Bajali College, Pathshala. The announcement attracted ire and a public meeting held on February 16 last decided to observe a series of agitations. The bandh observed here was the first of the series and warned that if the Government fails to rollback the decision it will be responsible for any situation created out of the arbitrary announcement.

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