• Today in History: 'Asom Andolan' of 1979


    Guwahati: Assam is synonymous for its student’s movements with India’s northeastern state witnessing the world’s longest such movement between 1979 and 1985. The problem of unabated influx of foreigners has been infuriating turmoil like situation in Assam with lakh of students taking to the streets seeking detection and deportation of illegal foreigners in the state.

    ‘Asom Andolan,’ the student’s movement also called Assam Movement, was supported by almost all sections of society due to the illegal influx of foreigners from Bangladesh which had threatened the demography of the state.

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    The second phase of the Assam agitation on the foreigners’ issue, which commenced with a statewide bandh on October 29, 1980, was intensified with a gherao of MLAs and blockade of the movement of jute, timber, cane and bamboo. Strong police force was deployed outside the MLAs hostel in Gauhati, but a large number of volunteers were successful in sneaking out at night.

    Meanwhile, the impending situation meant rising tensions in the state as the oil town of Digboi in Upper Assam too witnessed mass protests. The town had been placed under indefinite curfew. Ramamurthy, adviser to the Governor, said the trouble was sparked off by a rumour that some Bengali boys had been detained by All Assam Students’ Union volunteers. The rumour that spread across the state claimed that 13 Assamese boys and girls were kept confined as a reprisal in a local school by students of the All Assam Minorities Students’ Union.

    This movement that started in 1979 under the leadership of All Assam Students Union (AASU) and the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP), officially ended on 15th August 1985. The movement ended after the agitators came headed by AASU and AAGSP came into an understanding popularly known as the Assam Accord 1985.

    During this period of six long years of the historic movement as reported 855 (later on 860 as submitted by AASU) nos of people sacrificed their lives in the hope of an “infiltration free Assam” in the 1979-1985 Assam Agitation.

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